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Ritter, Lawmakers Honored for Taking CO From a 'Hate' to 'Equality State'

February 21, 2008

Denver, CO – The GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community believes Colorado has come a long way from being branded the 'Hate State' for passing an anti-gay amendment in the 1990s. "Amendment 2" was eventually overturned in the courts.

As Colorado's first openly gay State Senator, Jennifer Veiga will be honored at a fundraiser tonight in Denver, along with local attorney Patrick Steadman, Rep. Alice Madden and Gov. Ritter. Veiga says the governor has played a key role in recent years, in the progress that has been made toward equality.

"We were able to pass two extremely important pieces of gay rights legislation last year. That was only at the willingness of this Governor. For example, in the employment non-discrimination law that was passed, we've picked up support across party lines each year."

Veiga adds that, despite the gains, there's a continuing need for programs such as the GLBT Center of Colorado's Legal Initiatives Project. Much of the battle, she says, involves educating members of the GLBTQ community, as well as the public.

"Many folks don't know what their rights are, and the program serves to educate individuals as to what their rights are."

New legislation is expected to be introduced next week to extend the state's anti-discrimination protections to housing and public accommodations. Veiga, Ritter, Steadman and Madden will be honored at tonight's Legal Initiatives Project benefit in Denver. Information is available online, at www.glbtcolorado.org.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO