Colorado has become the site for the latest showdown over homosexual rights. On November 3 Colorado voters narrowly passed the controversial Amendment 2, which prohibits laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation. But the firestorm over the amendment shows no sign of dying down.

The Colorado Springs-based Colorado for Family Values, which is led by three Christian laymen, wrote the amendment and successfully placed it on the November ballot through a petition drive that focused on the state’s churches.

Fighting back

The amendment overturned homosexual rights laws previously passed in Denver, Boulder, and Aspen, and residents and officials of those communities are fighting back, beginning with an angry demonstration. The amendment’s backers are already the subjects of a lawsuit. A state legislator is busy drafting an amendment to repeal the amendment. A growing number of national organizations, U.S. cities, and Hollywood celebrities have vowed to boycott the state, where tourism is an important part of the economy.

State governor Roy Romer, who is constitutionally responsible for enforcing the amendment, has openly expressed his opposition to the amendment. Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, another amendment opponent, appeared on the “Arsenio Hall Show” and made a publicity trip to New York City asking people not to boycott the state of Denver, where voters opposed the amendment.

Divided opinions

Colorado’s United Methodists voted to oppose Amendment 2, and petitions are circulating to ask the denomination to relocate its 1996 general conference, which is scheduled for Denver. The Rev. Harvey Martz, pastor of Colorado Springs’ Calvary United Methodist Church, says Amendment 2 has been divisive for the community of around 300,000 people, adding, “I think Colorado for Family Values has been very effective at playing on people’s fears and ignorance about homosexuals.”

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who moved his organization to Colorado Springs from southern California in 1991, says that while Amendment 2 opponents have charged Christians with hate-mongering, most of the hate is being generated by prohomosexual activists.

“There is an effort to make us look extremist, hate-filled, and vicious in the way we deal with the homosexual community, and that is unfair,” said Dobson, who supports the amendment.

Dobson said the organization has received bomb threats. And critics have thrown a brick through one of the organization’s windows, dumped animal intestines at their door step, plastered the building with posters saying, “Hate is not a family value,” and printed up bumper stickers reading, “Focus on Your Own D—— Family!”

By Steve Rabey.

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