A Colorado state Senator has raised the
ire of gay activists after he likened gay rights to murder.
Debating a gay rights bill that would
extend health care benefits to gay spouses on Monday, Senator Scott
Renfroe, a Republican from Greeley, said: “I'm not saying this
[being gay] is the only sin that's out there. We have murder. We
have all sorts of sin. We have adultery. And we don't make laws
making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal.”
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human
Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian rights advocate
group, called the remarks “outrageously offensive.”
“These outrageously offensive
comments warrant condemnation by all fair-minded people and should be
ignored by the Colorado legislature as they move forward in passing
overdue protections to state workers,” Solmonese said in a
statement. “Senator Renfroe shows his own intolerance, but we
remain hopeful that his fair-minded colleagues will press ahead and
protect hard-working Coloradoans.”
Solomonese was not alone in his
thinking. Outgoing Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
(GLAAD) President Neil G. Giuliano said the remarks promote a hostile
climate for gays and lesbians.
“It is unacceptable for public
officials to promote this kind of intolerance and, in so doing,
create a hostile climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
people in their community,” Giuliano said in a statement.
Giuliano also called on the media to
hold public officials accountable: “Sen. Renfroe's ugly, divisive
assertions highlight the need for media to examine how the anti-gay
attitudes of elected officials impact their diverse constituencies.”
Renfroe's comments come on the heels of
actions taken by Republican leaders in Utah against state Senator
Chris Buttars after he called the gay rights movement “probably the
greatest threat to America.” He made his controversial comments in
an interview conducted with filmmaker Reed Cowan for an upcoming
documentary titled 8: The Mormon Proposition. The Salt Lake
City-based ABC affiliate KTVX aired several audio clips from the
documentary with Cowan's permission.
Buttars was stripped of his
chairmanship of and membership in the Judicial Committee. On Monday,
the same day Renfroe made his comments, Democrats asked the
Republican majority for greater sanctions against Buttars.
Renfroe said he opposed extending
benefits to gay and lesbian couples because of his religious
convictions and quoted Bible passages about creation and against
being gay during the debate, reports the Denver Post.
“Homosexuality is seen as a violation
of this natural created law, and it is an offense to God,” he said.
Support for gays and lesbians in
Colorado is a mixed bag. For instance, Colorado is one of the twenty
states that has banned sexual orientation discrimination in
employment and has openly gay representation in Congress (Jared Polis
is serving his freshman term). But voters have also backed draconian
measures in the past. Such as a state-wide ban on any pro-gay
legislation that was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1996 and its
current ban on gay unions, including marriage and domestic
The measure (Senate Bill 88) was given
an initial OK by the Senate on Tuesday with considerably less drama. It now moves back to the House.