On November 3, 1992, Colorado became the first state to legalize discrimination against gays, lesbians & bisexuals at the ballot box. Colorado's Amendment 2 is part of a nationwide attack by the religious right on civil rights everywhere. At least ten states will face petition drives in fall 1993 which, if sufficient signatures are gathered, will thrust those states into the divisive and expensive struggles that cost Colorado and Oregon millions of dollars and great political divisions in 1992.
Since the passage of Amendment 2, hate crimes against gay men and lesbians have jumped by more than 400%. Five gay men have been stabbed. Lesbians wearing "No on 2" buttons have been physically attacked. Colorado Springs is headquarters to more than 55 religious right organizations. Many gay activists have left the state. There has even been an Amendment 2-related suicide.
In the seven months since Amendment 2's passage, the Colorado Boycott has garnered national attention and support. As of June 1993, more than 60 companies have canceled conventions or meetings in Colorado, and more than 110 groups have called for a boycott of Colorado to protest Amendment 2. Some 20 U.S. municipalities have severed ties with Colorado because of the anti-gay initiative. New York City has divested its stock holdings in any Colorado companies, and canceled a contract for new municipal buses. Ziff-Davis Publishing had planned to relocate their operations to Colorado; in the wake of Amendment 2, they reconsidered, costing the state $1 billion dollars in revenue over a five-year period had they chosen to operate in the state. Good snow and papal visits notwithstanding, the Colorado Boycott is resulting in long-term fiscal consequences for the state that voted against civil rights.
What does this mean for other states, particularly those targeted for initiatives by the religious right? The Colorado example serves as a warning to voters, businesses, and political leaders in the other 49 states, attesting to the strength of the determination of activists and citizens to oppose discrimination and "ballot-box bigotry." Conservative Governor John Engler of Michigan has stated for the record, "I believe a Colorado-type amendment would have a negative impact if adopted in Michigan. Such an Amendment could lead to tourists and convention planners boycotting our state, which would obviously have an adverse effect on our economy. Michigan does not need an amendment of this nature" (letter to a constituent dated 2/16/93).
Boycott Colorado, Inc. stands prepared to fight the battle over Amendment 2 until its eventual repeal. We are unwilling to support a state that sees fit to deny civil rights and protections to any of its citizens. We are dedicated to promoting the effectiveness of the boycott nationally to prevent the spread of any "Amendment 2-style" initiatives that may be attempted in other states.
The following page lists boycott endorsers as of 6/7/93. In addition to this list, more than 62 businesses report conventions or business cancelled in Colorado, andmore than 100 New York City restaurants will not serve products from the state. Updates on the boycott, or information that activists can use to discuss the economic impact of anti-gay and lesbian legislation may be obtained through Boycott Colorado's toll-free line, 1-800-4-BOYCOTT.
"I believe a colorado-type amendment would have a negative impact if adopted in michigan. such an amendment could lead to tourists and convention planners boycotting our state, which would obviously have an adverse effect on our economy. Michigan does not need an amendment of this nature." -- Governor John Engler, State of Michigan
For more information or to request a complete Fight the Right Action Kit, call NGLTF at 202-332-6483, TTY 202-332-6219.