The Colorado House and Senate passed “Protecting the Freedom to Marry” resolution, which, if approved by voters in November, would amend the state’s constitution by eliminating the ban on same-sex marriage. Although same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015 with the Obergefell v. Hodges’ decision, the Colorado Constitution still contained this unconstitutional language. 

“SCR24-003 ‘Protecting the Freedom to Marry’ refers a constitutional amendment to the voters that, if approved, would repeal the provision in the Colorado Constitution stating that a marriage is only valid if it is between a man and a woman,” said Sen. Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins), prime sponsor for the bill during a hearing on April 25. “While our protection is in place today due to the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, none of us can predict what the future will hold. Based on recent polling from One Colorado, Coloradans overwhelmingly support same sex marriage. Committee, it’s time to fix this. I’m asking you all to support this revolution and give voters the voice to repeal this unconstitutional language once and for all.”

Colorado Catholic churches and anti-abortion organizations testified against this measure. The Colorado Catholic Conference, a religious organization that represents the four bishops of Colorado, opposed this bill. Brittany Vessely, its executive director, argued that only a marriage between the opposite sex should be considered as valid within the state. 

“While Obergefell made same sex marriage status quo, there are still important considerations considering a ballot measure to remove the definition of marriage from the Constitution,” testified Vessely at the same hearing. “Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary. The biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and woman, and, the social science that supports the reality that children need both a mother and father to flourish. SCR-003 therefore rejects the truth of what marriage is.”

Others that testified against this bill included an analyst and spokesperson for Focus on the Family, Nicole Hunt. Focus on the Family is a religious organization that is known for providing resources to crisis pregnancy centers who persuade women not to have abortions. 

“Focus on the Family cares deeply about marriage. It’s one of our six foundational values,” said Hunt. “We believe that the institution of marriage is a sacred covenant, designed by God to model the love of Christ for his people, and, to serve both the public and private good as the basic building block for human civilization.”

Hunt stated that she believes that marriage is intended by God to be a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. She continued to note that opposite sex marriage is considered to be natural. Hunt claimed that marriage as an “exclusively heterosexual union” is a statement from nature itself that marriage must be between one man and one woman. 

Catholic organizations have a long history of discriminating against those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. Many churches still practice conversion therapy, a harmful practice that seeks to change people’s gender identities or sexual orientations. 

In 2019, Alana Chen, a 24-year-old committed suicide after she went through years of conversion therapy in Boulder. When she was 19, her church offered a licensed therapist named Kate to the students, according to the “Dear Alana” podcast which recounts her life and journals she had written.

“I felt a lot of shame and anxiety,” Chen told The Denver Post. “I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Was I going to hell? But I was still extremely faithful, and I felt like the church and the counseling was the thing that was saving me. The worse I got, the more I clung to it.”

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