By Marc Sallinger
DENVER — Despite many setbacks, despite Colorado’s civil unions legislation being filibustered in the legislature, despite the fact that this legislation was killed in committee, this has still been a year of extraordinary change for LGBT rights. This year, like no other, the ACLU of Colorado will be walking with a renewed sense of purpose in the Coors Light Pridefest Denver parade June 17.
This year, you should be there, too.
There are so many reasons.
Just recently on May 8th, in a less than surprising conclusion, North Carolina voters passed a bill banning same-sex marriages and civil unions making North Carolina the last state in the South to outlaw gay marriage and the 30th state in the nation to do so.
Just one day after the North Carolina vote, in an unprecedented move amongst United States Presidents, Barack Obama declared his support for gay rights and same-sex marriage. Although polls taken shortly after the announcement showed a nearly equally divided country in support of and against the President’s move, for those who support full equality for all persons, Obama’s words were a momentous step in an arduous battle.
Although the path to equality runs through dips, hills, and often mountains, the end of the road would not be in sight without the support and activism of those who have the strength to stand up and speak. Kate Cohn, a former Falcon High School student, showed this strength in great fashion when she wore a shirt reading “Marriage is so Gay” to school. Cohn was wrongfully censored by the school and told she could not wear the shirt. The ACLU of Colorado wrote a letter to the school demanding that Kate be allowed to express herself and less than 24 hours later, Kate was allowed to wear her shirt to school and a small battle in the incessant war for equality was won.
Steve Marcantonio, a former Union Colony Prep student, also showed the strength needed to create change when he petitioned his school to start a Gay-Straight Alliance Club. When the Greely public charter school denied his petition, the ACLU of Colorado stepped in. Union Colony Prep now boasts a club to discuss issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity and bullying as well as an outlet for students to express themselves without the fear of retribution.
It’s for all these reasons that we are marching in the Pridefest Denver parade.
On June 17th, we will come together to show the world that we believe in full equality for all persons. The Denver Pridefest, held in Civic Center Park, will not only boast chanting, singing, dancing, and fun, but will also symbolize Colorado’s fighting strength.
You might kill our bill in the legislature, but you can’t kill our zeal for civil rights.
Join the ACLU of Colorado and thousands of others as we take to the streets of Denver in the Pridefest parade. Meet us at 9 AM, June 17, under the ACLU banner at E. High and 8th Street. Let the world hear your voice June 17th as we come together to support full equality for our friends, neighbors, and all who live in Colorado.
Sallinger, a senior at Mullen High School, is a summer Media Intern at the ACLU of Colorado