For Kristen Singer, marriage is not an option.
But Referendum I could give her some of the same legal rights as married couples, by providing same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain certain benefits, protections and responsibilities under Colorado law.
Supporters of the referendum say the issue is about equality.
“I am in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend and I would like to someday have these rights,” said Singer, a senior history major.
Other supporters say Referendum I is a good start, but not completely what they want.
“Even though it is not marriage, it is still some of the same basic legal rights,” said Robert Wildermuth, a sophomore zoology major. “At least it is some improvement.”
The referendum does have its opponents, many who come from the religious community. Officials from Timberline Church had the following statement:
“As a church, we seek to affirm and follow the teachings of the Bible. That includes believing that God intended for marriage to be between one man and one woman for life,” the statement said. “It also includes believing that all people are created in the image of God and therefore deserving of our love.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the CSU Young Democrats and CSU Libertarian Party held a rally to endorse the measure.
Seth Anthony, president of the CSULP, said the rally showed that even parties with different political views can agree on this issue.
Courtney Healey, former president of ASCSU and co-regional director for Coloradoans For Fairness, stood atop one of the large rocks at the southeast end of the Plaza.
“The opposition (to Ref. I) calls it ‘counterfeit marriage,'” Healey said. “It’s not marriage, it’s recognition for same-sex couples.”
Looking on at the edges of the rally, Jennifer Hughes, a junior human development and family studies major, said she was in favor of Referendum I.
“It’s only fair that those relationships are treated in a legal way,” Hughes said. “Just because (the relationship is) same-sex, doesn’t mean they should be treated as less than human.”
On Oct. 18 the ASCSU senate passed legislation that endorsed Referendum I. Students who support the referendum viewed this as a victory.
But students are divided over the issue.
“I don’t agree with this issue,” said Abrahim Al-Fadhali, a freshman electrical engineering major. “I think it is against nature and religion. Religion doesn’t accept this, in my opinion.”
Supporters of the referendum argue that this is an issue that involves everyone, especially students.
“Of course it might seem like we are in a different world,” said Zamantha York, a junior technical journalism major. “But in a couple of years we are going to be running this country. Our opinion means a lot.”
Staff writers Adam Bohlmeyer and Geoff Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.