Colorado Governor Romer Vetoes Same-Gender Marriage Ban

June 05, 1997

Colorado Governor Roy Romer for the second year straight, gave a thumbs down response to a state measure that would ban same-gender marriage. In a message announcing his veto of the bill, the Governor said that the bill was unnecessary and that the institution of marriage in Colorado is "safe" without it.

Governor Romer also appointed a commission on the Rights and Responsibilities of Same Sex Relationships to review and evaluate the legal and policy issues involved in recognizing same-gender relationships. He called upon the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the state to chair the commission.

The legislation vetoed by Governor Romer late Thursday afternoon would have invalidated marriages between two members of the same sex performed in other states and would have made it illegal to issue a marriage license to same gender couples in Colorado.

"For the second year in a row, Governor Romer has stood up for gay, lesbian and bisexual people by vetoing the marriage ban," said Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). "This is not only a show of support from the governor of an important western state, it is also a statement from the general chair of the Democratic National Committee. We urge Governor Romer to provide key leadership to his democratic colleagues and other governors on this issue."

Currently, same gender marriage is not legal anywhere in the country. Since 1995, 23 states have passed marriage-ban legislation. Florida and Indiana were the last two states to do so. Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon signed the measure in mid-May. The Florida anti-marriage bill became law without Governor Lawton Chile's signature, reflecting his misgivings about the bill. Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson also signed a marriage ban bill this week. Proposed bans remain active in 13 state legislatures.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.