Colorado Springs has a bad rap. Known more for its history of homo-hating residents – Ted Haggard, Focus on The Family and scores of other Evangelical wackos – than its mountain ranges, the city’s on a mission to remake its image. And, appropriately enough, the political face-lift comes in the form of The Diversity Forum…
It all started when The Forum’s organizers asked Colorado Springs’ city council to waive a $8,700 park permit fee for the event. A number of city’s politicos, however, weren’t down with a The Forum’s pro-gay ways. Margaret Radford dismissed the fee-waiving plea:
When a large portion of this community does not support gay and lesbian viewpoints, I don’t see us putting tax dollars into supporting that direction.
Councilman Darryl Glenn got a bit more political – and religious. “What I see happening is an expansion of the definition of marriage. And a display of an event like that, that’s a political issue.” No surprise considering the town birthed the anti-gay Amendment 2. But that was 1991. It’s 2007 and the pro-gays aren’t going to take this predictable anti-gay attitude. So they went back to continue the fight. With backup.
Diversity Forum’s Jay Patel tells The Denver Post: “We thought, ‘Enough is enough and members of our group showed up in force.” Patel and his peers’ efforts paid off: the city council sacrificed the fee. While some of us may be surprised by the council’s uncharacteristic timidity, gay activist Ted Trimpa (baby!?) insists the times are a changin’.
Despite the religious rights’ history – and tremendous power – in Colorado Springs, many of the GOP are rethinking the GAY: “People within the Republican Party there have started saying no to extremism. We actually may be reaching a tipping point.” He even says that he’d advise a friend to move there: news that certainly pleases Mike Kazmierski Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. He wants the world – and investors – to know that Colorado Springs has had a change of homo-heart: We’re really very diverse… If we can get [people] to come visit our town, Colorado Springs sells itself.”
Both Patel and Trimpa agree that while there will be no miraculous religious turnaround, there’s slow, steady progress. Patel muses:
The gay and lesbian issue should be a nonissue. They’re just people. They are part of our community. We can’t have people criticizing them constantly and trying to put them down. If we want to be known as a great community, we have to put those things behind us.
That’s some wise shit…
City aims to shed homophobic image [Pink News UK]
Colorado Springs Citizens Hope to Improve City’s Anti-Gay Reputation [247 Gay]
Editor’s Note: We’d like to share this picture with you…
That is all…
[Thanks, Above The Law.]