Supreme Court rules on marriage equality, Colorado reacts

Rachel Musselmann

The United States has reached a milestone.

Early Friday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriage across the country in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The closely-divided decision makes it illegal for any state to deny same-sex couples the right to marriage, and it has triggered both outrage and celebration across the country.

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In Colorado, politicians have released statements both publicly condemning and directly supporting the landmark ruling.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner said he disagrees with the court’s decision and believes in traditional marriage.

“All people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” Gardner said in a statement to the press. “While I have always believed in traditional marriage and disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, it is my hope that all Americans can now come together and focus on what unites us rather than what divides us, while respecting the sincere personal and religious liberties cherished by all citizens.”

His sentiments are not shared by other Coloradans, including Sen. Micheal Bennet and Congressman Jared Polis, both Democrats.

“Today’s historic decision affirms one of our country’s most basic values – that every American is equal under the law and deserves the same rights as everyone else,” Bennet said in a statement to the press.

Polis, the first gay parent to serve in Congress, said this is big step for the LGBT community, but the struggle is not over.

“With today’s decision, the Court ruled in no uncertain terms that the bonds of love, commitment and responsibility that all our families share exist without regard to gender and deserve the dignity of being recognized under the law,” Polis said in a statement to the press. “Despite this milestone, the battle for LGBT rights is not over. Marriage equality doesn’t mean that a gay employee can’t still be fired from his job when his boss finds out, or that a transgender individual can’t still be denied housing. So while we recognize the momentous victory that we achieved today, we can’t lose sight of our larger goal – a world in which being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender doesn’t subject a person to discrimination and prejudice.”

Aaric Guerriero, director of the GLBTQQA Resource Center. (Photo courtesy: Aaric Guerriero).
Aaric Guerriero, director of the GLBTQQA Resource Center. (Photo courtesy: Aaric Guerriero).

On the Colorado State University campus, LGBT leaders shared their reactions.

“This has definitely been a long time coming,” said Aaric Guerriero, director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning and Allied Resource Center. “A lot of people that have been waiting five, 10, 20 years for this right …will be jumping at the opportunity.”

Taylor Coulter, student president of the GLBTQ2A Resource Center, said the decision is the beginning of acceptance for everyone.

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“I’m extremely excited and so happy to be on campus for this,” Coulter said, who is a junior studying social work.

Both supporters of the gay rights movement and their opposition agree that it is far from a finish line. However, millions of Americans agreed with Bennet when he said, “Today, we celebrate that our country is a little more equal.”

Collegian Senior Reporter Rachel Musselmann can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rmusselmann.