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Lauren Yehle Nancy Wadsworth Susan Schulten Joshua Wilson

Abstract

This case study of Equality Colorado will demonstrate how countermovements and litigation may limit and change social movement agendas. Colorado for Family Values helped pass Colorado’s Amendment 2 in 1992, which limited any present and future anti-discrimination legislation that would protect sexuality as a class. This ballot initiative passed by 53% of Colorado voters, was the first of its kind, and was replicated in other states like Idaho and Oregon. Amendment 2 put the LGB community on the defensive and inclined the movement to collectively respond to the religious right with coalitions, pooled resources, and litigation. Equality Colorado, established in 1992, will exemplify how a social movement could respond to prejudicial legislation. One of Equality Colorado’s primary tactics was to reframe religion as inclusive of gay rights. It did not cede religion entirely to its opponents and attempted to take away some of the religious right’s legitimacy by labeling them “radical right” as opposed to the more popular term “religious right” or “Christian Conservatives.” Additionally, Equality Colorado tried to compensate for the downsides of litigation by “translating” the legal terms to the general public and connecting litigators with the broader movement.  For a full copy of my thesis, please contact me.This case study of Equality Colorado will demonstrate how countermovements and litigation may limit and change social movement agendas. Colorado for Family Values helped pass Colorado’s Amendment 2 in 1992, which limited any present and future anti-discrimination legislation that would protect sexuality as a class. This ballot initiative passed by 53% of Colorado voters, was the first of its kind, and was replicated in other states like Idaho and Oregon. Amendment 2 put the LGB community on the defensive and inclined the movement to collectively respond to the religious right with coalitions, pooled resources, and litigation. Equality Colorado, established in 1992, will exemplify how a social movement could respond to prejudicial legislation. One of Equality Colorado’s primary tactics was to reframe religion as inclusive of gay rights. It did not cede religion entirely to its opponents and attempted to take away some of the religious right’s legitimacy by labeling them “radical right” as opposed to the more popular term “religious right” or “Christian Conservatives.” Additionally, Equality Colorado tried to compensate for the downsides of litigation by “translating” the legal terms to the general public and connecting litigators with the broader movement.  For a full copy of my thesis, please contact me.

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