Jan 302013
Colorado State Capital

A 17-year-old Gunnison High School student is behind a ballot proposal that would amend Colorado’s constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Zofie Mandelski wants voters to decide the issue in 2014.

She filed the proposal Monday with the nonpartisan Legislative Council, the first of many steps in getting an issue on the ballot .

“I do personally support gay marriage, but my parents don’t,” Mandelski said, “but they are supporting me in this because they do think the issue should be voted on.”

The proposal reads: “Be it enacted by the voters of the State of Colorado: Article II Section 31 of the Constitution of the State of Colorado is amended to read: A union of one man and one woman, one man and

one man, and one woman and woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”

Colorado voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that basically outlawed same-sex couples from marrying. It passed approved 55 percent to 45 percent.

The first hearing on the proposal by the Legislative Council staff is scheduled for Feb. 11 at the Capitol.

Carrie Earll with Citizen Link, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, said she’s not surprised that something already has been filed allowing gays to marry.

“This is their ultimate goal: to overturn the state marriage amendment one way or another,” she said.

But she questioned the seriousness of the ballot proposal and whether there is any force behind it. Earl noted something similar was filed for the last election, but later dropped by the organizers.

One Colorado, the state’s largest gay-rights organization, is not involved with the proposal, a spokesperson said.

Mandelski said she is serious about the proposal, and that Colorado’s amendment process is designed to “let everyone get their say even if they aren’t part of a large organization.”

The process requires a second signature so Mandeleski asked a friend, Marley Wiggin, to sign on. But, Mandeleski said, it is her proposal.

Currently, nine states, plus Washington, D.C., allow same-sex couples to marry:. Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Iowa, New York, Maryland and Washington.

A civil-unions bill winding its way through the legislature would allow same-sex couples many but not all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. It is expected to be pass and become effective in May.

Opponents of Senate Bill 9 argue it violates religious freedoms and the will of the people.


Lynn Bartels

17-year-old Coloradan behind gay marriage ballot proposal – The Denver Post