Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

Veterans Stand Up for Marriage Equality in New Ad from Why Marriage Matters Colorado

Why Marriage Matters logo

DENVER – In its ongoing work to demonstrate that the broad majority of Coloradans support the freedom to marry, today Why Marriage Matters Colorado, a coalition of state and national organizations, released a 30-second television spot featuring a group of local veterans standing up for their gay comrade in arms.

The ad, launched on television statewide this morning, will air tonight during NBC’s “The Voice.” The spot features three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant T. Ashley Metcalf – who is still actively serving his country – represent 45 years of military service. Sgt. Metcalf is gay, and his band of brothers – former Army Staff Sgt. Izzy Abbass, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Mont’Ros, and former Marine Sgt. Will Glenn – talk about the importance of the freedom to marry for everyone.

Highlighting their years in military service where Sgt. Metcalf served in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Staff Sgt. Abbass says, “He should have the same freedoms we have, and that includes the freedom to marry.”

“Gay and lesbian Coloradans have long served their country in the military, as first responders in our cities and towns, and as valued members of our communities. We chose to tell just one of those many stories – this story of a military band of brothers who know firsthand what it means to stand up for freedom and equality,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado, one of the lead organizations of Why Marriage Matters Colorado, along with the ACLU of Colorado and Freedom to Marry.

“We were proud and honored to be asked to stand up for our friend and his freedoms and liberties,” said Sgt. Abbass. “But we chose to do this ad not only for Ash, but for all Coloradans who deserve the freedom to marry. We didn’t serve to protect freedom for some of us, but for all of us.”

Watch the ad and read bios of the veterans featured at:

Text of the ad:

Sergeant Mont’Ros:     Together the four of us have over 45 years of military service.

Sergeant Abbass:          The word “veteran” encapsulates so much.

Sergeant Glenn:            Loyalty and respect.  We have each other’s back.

Sergeant Metcalf:         I served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I’m gay, these guys are straight.  But we’re all veterans and we’ve all served our country.

Sergeant Abbass:          I’ve been married for 8 years, going on 9, happily married.  And why shouldn’t Ash, a good friend of mine, be afforded that same opportunity?

Sergeant Glenn:            Sergeant Metcalf is serving his country, same as the rest of us did.

Sergeant Abbass:          He should have the same freedoms we have, and that includes the freedom to marry.
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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