Most politicians speak out of whichever side of their mouth will curry them more votes, but last week Denver mayor Michael Hancock spoke from the heart when he urged support for pending civil-union legislation in Colorado.
At a LGBT meet-and-greet, Hancock spoke lovingly about his brother, Robert, who died of AIDS in 1996.
The Denver Post reports:
“I remember very clearly standing next to him as he lay in the hospital,” Hancock told the gathering. “My brother told me a couple of things that I will never forget. One is, he said, ‘gay people are human … treat me as a human being.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Michael, I know you are going to stay involved in politics. Do everything that you can to continue to fight so that poor people don’t have to die from this disease.”
Hancock continued to say that he understood that even though his family had gathered in the hospital room, no one loved his brother more than his partner. And he was outraged and saddened that laws at the time forbade his brother’s partner from making medical decisions.
The mayor said his talk wasn’t “just for cheap applause.”
“I say it because it is a fundamental value. Government shouldn’t legislate who you love and who you commit your life to. As my brother taught me, love does not recognize gender, race or ethnicity… That’s why I stand here firm in my support for civil unions in Colorado and in support of same-sex marriage across the land. It’s time. Let’s do it.”
Gay couples in Denver are afforded the same rights as married heteros, but Hancock is joining the chorus of voices calling for statewide recognition with the passage of Senate Bill 2.
The measure passed the Senate judiciary committee last week but faces a Republican majority in the House, where a similar bill was voted down last year.