Gay rights group One Colorado kicked off a campaign in Grand Junction on Wednesday in support of gay marriage.
About 15 local supporters took a stand in the front of the old Mesa County Courthouse while the group introduced their campaign Why Marriage Matters Colorado.
“Because there’s a difference between having a civil union and a marriage license and feeling comfortable enough to put a picture of your husband or your wife on your desk at work,” said Dave Montez, the group’s executive director.
Members of One Colorado said they will be traveling across the state, seeking support for their initiative. Civil unions are allowed for gay couples in Colorado, but marriage is not. Marriage provides more legal protections for couples than civil unions.
Montez said he wants to make it clear that if the Colorado Constitution is amended either by a vote or a ruling to allow gay marriage, it would not mean that religious institutions would be required to perform marriage ceremonies.
“It represents freedom to marry, freedom for everyone,” Montez said.
Nine couples filed lawsuits against Colorado’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Additionally, two federal cases one from Utah and another from Oklahoma, will be heard by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado.
Montez said results of opinion polls increasingly are showing that Americans are warming to the notion of gay marriage.
One Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union and the group Freedom to Marry are backing the initiative, he said.
“We’re not taking anything for granted,” Montez said after the rally. “That’s why this campaign is so important.”