College Student Tries To Overturn Colorado’s Anti-Gay Marriage Law

Inspired by New York’s successful enactment of marriage equality legislation, Colorado college student Mark Olmstead hopes to overturn the state’s “2006 ballot measure that defined marriage in Colorado as between a man and a woman” with a ballot initiative of his own:

The state’s title board will review the language of his ballot- initiative proposal next week. If it is approved, the next step will be to collect 86,000 signatures to get the initiative before voters in the 2012 election.

“I think the attitudes in Colorado toward gay marriage have shifted since 2006,” said Olmstead, who is gay.

Similar attempts have been made before, including in 2009, when a 23-year-old golf club salesman tried to launch a ballot initiative to change the definition of marriage in the state constitution.

Last month, U.S. News’ Laura Chapin reported that both the state House and Senate sponsors of this year’s failed civil unions measure are considering re-introducing the legislation. In fact, some GOP lawmakers who voted against the effort are already having second thoughts.

Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R) recently said he’s re-thinking his no vote. “Considering these things, I wondered if I was focusing on a mote that might touch heterosexual families, and missing a beam squeezing gay households,” he wrote. “Maybe recognizing civil unions could blur the focus on two parent homes raising children. But maybe the impact would be minuscule compared to broader trends ravaging families. And maybe the benefits that same-sex households would feel acutely are simply more important and more valuable to them than any speculative and marginal damage to the climate for heterosexual commitment is to others.”