Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

Public Education Campaign Launches to Win Marriage Equality in Colorado


Marriage Matters logos

With multiple pathways to secure the freedom to marry for committed couples in Colorado, new broad, statewide campaign launches to build support

DENVER – Today, in an effort to remove discrimination from Colorado’s constitution and win the freedom to marry, key state and national advocacy groups led a broad coalition of faith, business, civic and political leaders, and everyday Coloradans in launching Why Marriage Matters Colorado at a public rally in Denver on the west steps of the State Capitol.

The campaign centers on the core principle that all loving, committed couples should have the freedom to marry in the state that they call home. Today’s announcement comes at a time when the national landscape for marriage equality is shifting rapidly. Less than two weeks ago, nine couples filed a legal challenge to the state’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples. At the same time, two federal cases – one based in Utah, the other in Oklahoma – will be heard next month by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado.

Why Marriage Matters Colorado will broaden the dialogue with Coloradans about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families and why it is consistent with the values of liberty and freedom. More information on this new statewide initiative – which is being spearheaded by leading statewide LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, and Freedom to Marry – can be found here:

“As a Republican small business owner, I believe the freedom to marry is consistent with conservative values of limited government and individual freedom,” said Maria Garcia Berry, a Colorado Republican and local business leader. “Freedom means freedom for everyone, and I’m proud to join this effort to remove discrimination from Colorado’s constitution and move our state forward.”

Why Marriage Matters Colorado will equip supporters with tools and training to share personal stories about why marriage matters to them. The campaign will engage businesses, religious congregations, and civic leaders to help win the freedom to marry in Colorado and show that gay and lesbian couples are part of someone’s family and should be treated with respect.

“Marriage is one of the most special moments of a person’s life, when you stand in front of your friends and family and say this isn’t just the person I love – it’s the person I want to be responsible for and held accountable to,” said Jodi Martin, who lives with her partner Jenny in Boulder. “Marriage upholds everything we believe in – stability, integrity, responsibility and most importantly, family. Recognizing our family only makes our community and our state stronger.”

Business and faith leaders from across the state have already pledged their commitment to winning the freedom to marry for all Coloradans.

“Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry would tell my daughter – and all of our children and grandchildren – that here in Colorado, we believe in treating others as we would want to be treated ourselves,” said Reverend Laura Rossbert, a United Methodist clergywoman and Denver resident. “Singling out one group of people for unfair treatment by not letting them marry the person they love is not how we do things in Colorado.”

For more information about the Why Marriage Matters Colorado campaign, including how to make a financial contribution, pledge to win the freedom to marry in Colorado, or share a story about why marriage matters, visit

Below please find quotes from key elected officials who support the freedom to marry for all Coloradans.

Senator Mark Udall:

“I believe we are stronger as a state and as a country when we promote the public affirmation of family, shared responsibility and commitment that comes with marriage. That’s why I am proud to join with One Colorado to support its campaign for marriage equality. We are better off when we promote marriage and family by ending laws and regulations that undermine commitment and discriminate against Colorado’s LGBT couples.”

Senator Michael Bennet:

“Loving, committed couples, regardless of sexual orientation, should be afforded the same rights and benefits of marriage that Susan and I enjoy. Colorado took a significant step forward last year with civil unions, but it’s now time to affirm that all couples should be treated equally under our laws. We look forward to the day we can celebrate full equality with LGBT Coloradans.”

Governor John Hickenlooper:

“We have advocated for equal rights for all Coloradans and we will continue to advocate for equal rights for all Coloradans. Last year, Colorado took a historic step forward when we passed bipartisan legislation recognizing civil unions. If all men and women truly have the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and if all people are created equal, then by extension of law, logic, and love, every adult couple should also have the freedom to join in marriage.”

Congressman Jared Polis:

“No one should be denied the opportunity to choose his or her spouse. It is a basic human right and deeply personal decision. Throughout history, we have only moved forward when society has distinguished between traditional values and valueless traditions. Whether through an initiative at the ballot box or through the courts, I’m confident that gay and lesbian Coloradoans will soon be able to marry the person they love.”

Congresswoman Diana DeGette:

“I am proud to be fighting every day to ensure that all Americans are treated equally, no matter who they love. While we have made significant progress, we know there is still work to be done. As the Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality caucus, I am committed to working together to win full marriage equality for all. LGBT Coloradoans deserve the same opportunities to make a lifetime promise of commitment and responsibility to the person they love. Today, I stand with so many of my colleagues, friends, and neighbors in proudly supporting the freedom to marry for all Coloradoans.”

Congressman Ed Perlmutter:

“Liberty and the right to pursue happiness are core American values. I’m proud to stand with One Colorado to support marriage equality for all people who want to make a lifetime promise of commitment and responsibility to the person they love.”

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