Colorado Boy Scouts merge, leaders cite gay inclusion cause

By : Wire Report
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) | A local Colorado Boy Scouts council has merged with a Denver area council amid declining membership numbers and financial difficulty.

The Daily Sentinel reports that the combined western slope service area was created in May to serve about 2,400 youth members and about 1,000 volunteer adult leaders through scout units in 15 northwestern Colorado counties.

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Gay philanthropist Tim Gill to obtain high honor in Colorado

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Tim Gill, screenshot via YouTube.

Tim Gill, a gay Colorado based philanthropist who has donated more than $500 million to organizations working to advance LGBT rights, is set to receive one of his state’s highest honors from Gov. Jared Polis.

Polis, the first openly gay person elected governor in the United States, announced on Friday Gill would be one of six recipients of the Colorado Governors Citizenship Medal at an Oct. 12 celebration. The medal was established by executive order in 2015.

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Dan Baer bows out in Colorado race for U.S. Senate seat

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gay U.S. ambassador Daniel Baerdropped his bid for U.S. Senate in Colorado. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Daniel Baer, an openly gay foreign policy expert who served as a U.S. ambassador during the Obama administration, has dropped his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Colorado.

Baer announced he’d suspend his campaign Sept. 12 and would endorse former Gov. John Hicklenlooper, who launched a bid to run for U.S. Senate after his failed campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

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Washington state Democrats elect lesbian as 1st woman speaker of the House

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ABOVE: Washington state Rep. Laurie Jinkins. (Photo from Facebook)

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) | Democrats elected the first female speaker of the House in Washington state on July 31.

With the selection of state Rep. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma, Washington becomes the eighth state to have a woman in the top spot in the House and is now the second state to have a gay speaker of the House, joining Oregon. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven other states have female speakers of the House: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont.

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Polis becomes 1st Democrat to address conservative summit

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ABOVE: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, photo via Facebook.

DENVER (AP) | Jared Polis, who last year became the first openly gay man elected governor of a state in the U.S., made history again July 12 by becoming the first Democrat to address a Denver conservative conference.

The liberal governor from Boulder was sandwiched between Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and conservative media critic Brent Bozell on the morning program of the Western Conservative Summit, which is a two-day conclave founded and coordinated by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. Polis’ speech was relatively unremarkable other than the fact that he gave it.

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Buttigieg boasts nearly $25 million haul in second-quarter fundraising

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is boasting a major haul of nearly $25 million in second quarter funds, an impressive figure demonstrating the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., has prowess as a top-tier candidate and fundraiser.

According to the Buttigieg campaign, the candidate has raised $24.8 million from 294,000 individual donors, who have each contributed an average less than $48. Further, the campaign says it has more than $22 million in cash on hand.

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Gov. Polis signs trans birth certificate bill, ban on ‘ex-gay’ therapy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With great fanfare in a signing ceremony, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis — the first openly gay man elected governor in the United States — signed into law on Friday two pieces of pro-LGBT legislation.

One measure bans widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for youth, the other, known as Jude’s Law, streamlines the process by which transgender people can change their gender marker on their birth certificates.

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New agreement ends litigation against Masterpiece Cakeshop

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Masterpiece Cakeshop — famed for its case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court after its owner refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple — has reached a new agreement with the State of Colorado to end subsequent litigation against him.

As part of the new agreement, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission will withdraw its administrative action against owner Jack Phillips. The commission found probable cause the bakery violated state law by refusing to make a cake celebrating a gender transition for a transgender person’s birthday.

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Lawmaker sees 1st year as balance between district, identity

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DENVER (AP) | Democratic Rep. Brianna Titone made Colorado history in January as the state’s first transgender lawmaker. She’s one of only four trans state lawmakers in the country.

“That does kind of put a little bit of self-imposed pressure on myself to do the best that I can,” Titone said. “But, on the same token, I would have done that anyway.”

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Apopka transgender woman evicted, alleges discrimination from housing association

By : Abigail Brashear
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APOPKA, Fla. | A transgender woman of color and her husband were evicted from their mobile home in Apopka this month and claim discrimination from the Homeowners Association was a factor.

Tiara Kelley, 38, and her husband Robert Kelley, bought their Bayshore Chalet North mobile home in September. The couple bought the mobile home completely in cash, ensuring that their name was on the title of the home, and leased the lot that the mobile home was on with the Chalet North HOA.

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Proposed Denver conversion therapy ban for minors advances

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DENVER (AP) | Denver’s City Council will soon consider a ban on psychotherapy that seeks to change the sexual orientation of minors.

Denver’s Safety, Housing, Education and Homeless Committee voted Dec. 19 to send the proposal to the full council.

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Colorado baker back in court over 2nd LGBT bias allegation

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DENVER (AP) | Attorneys for a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple on religious grounds — a stand partially upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court — argued in federal court Dec. 18 that the state is punishing him again over his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition.

Lawyers for Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver, are suing to try to stop the state from taking action against him over the new discrimination allegation. They say the state is treating Phillips with hostility because of his Christian faith and pressing a complaint that they call an “obvious setup.”

“At this point, he’s just a guy who is trying to get back to life. The problem is the state of Colorado won’t let him,” Jim Campbell, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said after the hearing. The conservative Christian nonprofit law firm is representing Phillips.

State officials argued for the case to be dismissed, but the judge said he was inclined to let the case move forward and would issue a written ruling later.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission said Phillips discriminated against Denver attorney Autumn Scardina because she’s transgender. Phillips’ shop refused to make a cake last year that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside after Scardina revealed she wanted it to celebrate her transition from male to female.

She asked for the cake on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would consider Phillips’ appeal of the previous commission ruling against him. In that 2012 case, he refused to make a wedding cake for same-sex couple Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that the Colorado commission showed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make the cake, voting 7-2 that it violated Phillips’ First Amendment rights.

But the court did not rule on the larger issue of whether businesses can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gays and lesbians.

Phillips’ lawsuit alleges that Colorado violated his First Amendment right to practice his faith and 14th Amendment right to equal protection. It seeks $100,000 in punitive damages from Aubrey Elenis, director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman says the case should be dismissed because of state efforts to enforce its order against Phillips. A state hearing is scheduled for February to determine what will happen next.

Deputy Attorney General LeeAnn Morrill told Senior Judge Wiley Y. Daniel that the commission did not mention religion in its latest finding against Phillips. She said the commission also has used the state’s anti-discrimination law to protect people who have faced bias because of their faith.

The judge said he thought the Supreme Court’s ruling had more relevance in the current case than the state acknowledged and quoted from the justices’ opinions during the hearing. He mentioned now-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy’s conclusion that the commission had shown “hostility” toward religion.

Wiley said he would have to hear evidence before deciding whether to temporarily block state proceedings.

In the lawsuit, Phillips’ attorneys say he “believes as a matter of religious conviction that sex — the status of being male or female — is given by God, is biologically determined, is not determined by perceptions or feelings, and cannot be chosen or changed.”

It claims Phillips has been harassed and received death threats and that his small shop was vandalized while the wedding cake case made its way through the courts.