A constitutional amendment to repeal Colorado’s gay marriage ban and replace it with language saying marriage is allowed regardless of sex could be headed to the 2012 ballot.
A state title board will review language next week to clear the proposal for ballots. If approved, supporters would have to collect about 86,000 signatures to put the question to voters.
The proposal would reverse a 2006 amendment that said only a union of one man and one woman would be a valid marriage. That language would be replaced with a sentence saying, “Marriage will have the same requirements and effects regardless of whether the parties are the same or different sex.”
One of the sponsors of the proposal is a 19-year-old college student from Arvada. Mark Olmstead said he was inspired by the recent vote in New York state to allow same-sex marriage there.
“I feel like it’s time to start fighting for it here,” Olmstead said. Olmstead said he does not have any immediate plans to marry but wants the right to if he chooses.
Colorado has been debating same-sex unions despite the 2006 amendment. A proposal to allow civil unions passed the Democratic state Senate earlier this year but failed in the Republican House.
A gay-marriage opponent predicted Thursday that voters would reject the change.
“We have every confidence that the people of Colorado would affirm that vote again if an attempt to repeal marriage comes to the ballot,” said Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family.
Olmstead, a political science student at Seattle University, said he’s counting on other gay activists to gather the needed signatures to petition the question onto ballots. He said he’s hopeful the question will make ballots, but not as optimistic it’ll pass. The 2006 ban passed with about 55 percent of the vote.
“I think Colorado has changed from then to now. I’m not entirely sure it’s changed enough, but it’s about time to start talking about it,” he said.