The opinions represented in this article do not represent those of the staff of CU Independent nor any of its sponsors.
Colorado is an incredible place. To say that Colorado is an incredible place for politics, however, would probably be a lesser-known fact. But it’s true. Recently, our state’s politicians and residents have displayed huge progress regarding some of the largest social issues today.
Closest to my heart is the issue of same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act (commonly referred to as DOMA), enacted in 1996, restricts various marriage rights to only unions between a man and a woman. Since this congressional ruling, states have been working on their own legislation surrounding the issue.
In 2006, Colorado voters banned same-sex marriage, but in March, Colorado House and Senate members, both controlled by Democrats, overwhelmingly supported a bill allowing same-sex couples civil unions in the state. Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill on March 21.
Though it is still not marriage, a civil union grants same-sex couples many new legal rights. Of course, I think the push for legal marriage between same-sex couples should continue, but the current progress is promising and an important milestone in the struggle.
That is the key concept here: progress. The civil unions bill promotes positive change because it speaks to the necessity of equality between all people. There is absolutely no reason to debate the statement that equality should be a fundamental driver of all politics.
Civil unions is not the only example of recent progress in Colorado. The state voted for the legalization of marijuana as well as groundbreaking new gun-control bills this session.
On March 20, Hickenlooper signed bills that expanded background checks for those purchasing firearms as well as restrictions on ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.
Our state has seen some of the most devastating mass shootings in the country. After the recent Aurora movie theater shooting and murder of Tom Clements, the head of Colorado’s Department of Corrections, the gun control bills could not come at a time of greater need. They are a step toward preventing the likelihood of such events in the future. When terrible things like Colorado’s shootings happen, it only makes sense for the government to respond responsibly.
Amendment 64, simply put, allows adults over the age of 21 legal use of marijuana. What a concept. People are going to smoke weed, that’s inevitable. So why not legalize it and make some money off the sales tax as well as cut back on the criminalization of the drug? The state is currently considering taxes on marijuana as high as 30 percent. Again, this progress is groundbreaking.
Things cannot always stay the same, nothing would be accomplished if they did.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kate McElwain at Kate.email@example.com.