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. 

Statewide CO Marriage Campaign Recognizes One-Year Civil Unions Anniversary, Renews Call for Full Equality

WhyMM logo w ACLU

May 1, 2014

DENVER – Why Marriage Matters Colorado, the broad coalition working to secure the freedom to marry for all committed couples, today recognized the one-year anniversary of the enactment of Colorado’s civil unions law, which went into effect on May 1, 2013. This milestone comes on the heels of oral arguments for the Utah and Oklahoma marriage cases before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver. The outcome in those cases could bring the freedom to marry to Colorado.

“While we applaud this anniversary as Colorado’s first step in protecting all families, we also knew that civil unions were just that – an important first step,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado, one of the lead organizations of Why Marriage Matters Colorado, along with ACLU of Colorado and Freedom to Marry. “With 61% of Coloradans behind the freedom to marry, we know that people understand that nothing compares to marriage in protecting couples and their families.”

Montez went on to cite the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision last June that provided federal recognition of married gay and lesbian couples. While not specifically addressing marriage nationwide, the decision nonetheless has led to several federal court rulings that found denying committed couples the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. Seventeen states plus Washington, D.C. now have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

“When civil unions took effect last May, we knew this law would extend many key protections to families like ours and that it was an important move forward,” said Sarah Musick, who entered into a civil union with her partner Erika in Colorado Springs last year. “However, there’s no substitute for marriage, which guarantees that we can be there for each other and our family during times of greatest need. Like thousands of other couples across our state, we simply want to be able to make a lifetime commitment to each other and be responsible for one another – in front of our own friends and family, here in the state we call home.”

“One year ago, I had the honor of officiating about a dozen civil union ceremonies the night this law first took effect in Colorado,” said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, Executive Director of ACLU of Colorado. “I will never forget the faces, the emotions, the joy. But civil unions are still not marriage. As an ordained minister, I look forward to having the ability to marry loving, committed couples who belong together and deserve full equality under the law.”

Why Marriage Matters Colorado is broadening 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 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:

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