Protecting Freedom for All Coloradans


On June 28, 1969, a police raid of a gay bar in New York City ignited the Stonewall Uprising, a multi-day act of resistance that became a defining moment in the movement for LGBTQ+ rights. The first-ever Gay Pride Parade followed one year later, cementing each June as a celebration of the queer’s community’s love, resilience, visibility and freedom. This past weekend, Denver commemorated the 50th anniversary of Denver PrideFest with a multi-day celebration of equality.

Today, LGBTQ+ Coloradans are in many ways closer to experiencing legal freedom and public acceptance than ever before. The 2015 Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges affirmed the right to marriage equality, 13 percent of state legislators are members of the LGBTQ+ community, and the Human Rights Campaign rates Colorado’s laws and policies as generally positive for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Yet at the same time, increasing court attacks on civil rights and coordinated political campaigns targeting the safety and dignity of LGBTQ+ community members threaten to deny people the basic liberties to live and thrive in an accepting environment. These emerging threats necessitate a strong and united response from all Coloradans who care about the LGBTQ+ community.

Rose Community Foundation grantees One Colorado and Rocky Mountain Equality (formerly Out Boulder County), along with other leaders in the LGBTQ+ community, are taking action to protect LGBTQ+ rights. The coalition is leading a 2024 statewide ballot campaign with the two-pronged goal of proactively upholding the freedom to marry in Colorado – insulating the queer community from having its right to marriage stripped by a potential future Supreme Court decision – and combatting a pair of anti-transgender ballot initiatives that aim to intimidate and discriminate against trans youth.

Rose Community Foundation stands firmly in support of the LGBTQ+ community and this campaign effort. We have formally endorsed the Freedom to Marry ballot measure and will oppose any anti-trans initiatives that may qualify for the ballot.

“We are grateful to One Colorado and Rocky Mountain Equality for leading the way and bringing together a broad coalition of community members and organizations who will not stand idly by as basic civil rights are endangered,” says Ray Barrie-Kivel, Rose Community Foundation’s policy and advocacy manager. “Rose Community Foundation is proud to invest our dollars and amplify our voice in alignment with our values.”

“Pride Month is a time for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate who we are and to find connection with others, but it is also a time when we commit to defending ourselves against exclusionary and dangerous policies,” says Mardi Moore, executive director at Rocky Mountain Equality. “The fight for equality for all people is far from over, and we will proudly continue advocating for LGBTQ+ Coloradans.”

“These attacks on the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado are not new, and Coloradans will not stand by silently, nor allow prejudice and discrimination to be legislated in our state,” says Nadine Bridges, executive director at One Colorado. “LGBTQ+ Coloradans and allies are firm in our commitment to pursue a fair and just Colorado.”

The Freedom to Marry Ballot Measure | RCF ENDORSED

This referred ballot measure would remove Amendment 43, a 2006 constitutional amendment that prohibited marriage for same-sex couples, from the state constitution. Should Obergefell v. Hodges be overturned in the coming years, this measure will be needed to ensure protection of marriage equality in Colorado.

Anti-Transgender Initiatives | RCF OPPOSED

A pair of initiatives that target trans youth. Proponents for these initiatives are currently gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot.

  • Forced Outing: Initiative 142 would force Colorado public school teachers and other personnel to notify parents if they perceive a difference between their child’s biological sex and the child’s perceived or desired gender in an effort to censure trans students’ gender expression.
  • Banning Trans Youth in Sports: Initiative 160 would bar youth from participating in athletic activities that match their gender identify, effectively excluding trans children in Colorado from playing sports with their peers.

What You Can Do to Support

  • Contribute to the LGBTQ+ nonprofits leading this advocacy effort or give directly to the campaign.
  • Decline to sign if you encounter petition gathers trying to get Initiatives 142 and 160 on the ballot.
  • Vote for the freedom to marry and against any anti-trans initiatives that qualify for the ballot this November.

You can learn more about Rose Community Foundation’s Policy and Advocacy work on our website.

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