A commitment to inclusion simply recognizes that all Coloradans want the same chance to earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love.
People should be able to have different beliefs and still be treated fairly.
Inclusion is not about being gay or straight. It is about valuing decency in the way we treat every human being.
We should value committed couples who want to take care of each other and contribute to the stability of our communities and their families. It is not the job of Government to intrude in the privacy of people's lives or stand in the way of someone being able to care for his or her long-term partner.
In Colorado, we believe people should be allowed to live their lives with mutual respect and equality under the law.
I understand the importance of inclusion and I've worked to ensure that my businesses and Mayoral administration are diverse. My appointments as Mayor have included numerous GLBT individuals. On my first day as Mayor, I appointed a GLBT Liaison to work with the GLBT community to provide me with a more complete understanding of the issues impacting the GLBT community in Denver and for the purpose of creating better representation.
Additionally, when I became Mayor I changed the GLBT Advisory Council to the Mayor's GLBT Commission. I instructed the Mayoral staff to work with the Denver City Council to codify the GLBT Commission in the Denver Revised Municipal Code so the Commission would have permanence in Denver no matter who serves as Mayor.
If elected Governor, I will continue a tradition of inclusion and outreach to every community, including the GLBT community.
Colorado Civil Rights Division & Commission
Colorado has a long history of support for civil rights and equality. We were among the first to support suffrage for women and laws preventing racial discrimination. Our anti-discrimination laws were originally enacted in 1951 and have been extensively amended since then. In 2007, this expansion included covering sexual orientation and gender identity, protections we have had in place in Denver since 1991 and 2001 respectively.
As Governor, I will continue the outreach and enforcement activities of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Civil Rights Division. I believe we must continue to educate all Coloradans about their civil rights and we must assure that support is available whenever they face discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national origin, or ancestry.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Civil Rights Division should continue their efforts to fight discrimination in this state. Their important work makes the GLBT community and all of us safer.
Access to health insurance is a significant concern to every Coloradan, but sometimes poses unique challenges for the GLBT community. Many employers do not offer domestic partner benefits, and consequently, GLBT Coloradans often have less access to care.
As federal health care reform is implemented, from the high risk pool to the state health insurance exchange, Colorado's next Governor must be aware of the unique issues facing this community and should work to increase access to care, with a particular emphasis on prevention. Additionally, I will work to ensure that public health providers have access to training opportunities that will allow them to address the unique needs of the GBLT community.
As Governor, I will direct the Department of Public Health and Environment to strengthen existing programs that focus on education, prevention and treatment with regards to sexual health. A Hickenlooper administration will base policies on sound science and evidence-based improvements.
I support the Colorado General Assembly and Gov. Bill Ritter for passing and signing important legislation that impacts GLBT Coloradans. These legislative successes include:
SB 07-025, which makes discrimination and harassment in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation illegal in Colorado. This law, which applies to all employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, on-the-job training, and vocational training programs and schools, prohibits the consideration of sexual orientation when making employment-related decisions, as well as making inquiries about an applicant's or employee's sexual orientation.
SB 08-200 expands Colorado's anti-discrimination protections further to cover public accommodations, housing and a variety of other areas to include GLBT people.
SB 07-1330, the Second Parent Adoption law, enables unmarried couples to adopt each other's children. With the legal protection now in place, children can have two legal parents thereby providing them with more financial security and better access to health and insurance benefits. Prior to the passage of this law, only single people (gay or straight) or married couples could adopt.
HB 09-1260, The Designated Beneficiaries Act, authorizes two competent adults who are not or cannot be married, to enter into a designated beneficiary agreement, making each adult a designated beneficiary - and decision-maker in case of incapacity - of the other. Under this contract, a citizen can choose who should be named to make decisions on their behalf in case of emergency or death.
SB 09-88 allows state employees to apply for health insurance for their domestic partners. Colorado joined one-third of all states, 17 Colorado cities and five Colorado counties that offer health insurance to their employees' same-sex partners - helping our state government recruit and retain talented workers.
Relationship Recognition Hospital visitation (89%) Medical decisions (85%) End-of-life decisions (84%) Family and medical leave (80%) Inheritance tax exemptions (76%) Government loans/grants (74%) Workers' comp benefits (73%) Health insurance (72%)
Committed gay and lesbian couples in Colorado are currently denied basic protections and responsibilities to care for each other and their families. Many states have granted the same civil protections and responsibilities to same-sex couples that marriage provides to straight couples. Importantly, these laws do not require any religious institution to recognize civil partnerships or require any clergy to perform such a ceremony. I believe these civil unions promote equality as well as financial and social stability in our society and strike the right balance in protecting civil rights and religious freedom.
According to research commissioned by One Colorado in January 2010, and conducted by two national independent research firms - Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and American Viewpoint - the majority of Coloradans support equality and opportunity for GLBT people and families. An overwhelming majority (87%) supports the right for gay or lesbian children to be safe and protected at school, and 72% of Coloradans support the legal recognition for same-sex couples. Coloradans overwhelmingly support specific protections for same-sex couples:
All children must be safe in school. Studies show that GLBT students face disproportionate levels of bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, bullying and harassment has devastating effects on student achievement, drop-out rates and mental health. Many states have passed safe schools legislation requiring that schools adopt policies to prevent bullying and protect students. No child in Colorado should be afraid to go to school. Since the Columbine tragedy, Colorado has made progress in this area, but we can do more. We need to make sure all students are protected from bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Hospital visitation (89%)
Medical decisions (85%)
End-of-life decisions (84%)
Family and medical leave (80%)
Inheritance tax exemptions (76%)
Government loans/grants (74%)
Workers' comp benefits (73%)
Health insurance (72%)