Colorado voters on Tuesday did something no other state has done: They elected an openly gay man as governor.
Jared Polis, the Democratic congressman from Boulder, handily beat Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s Republican treasurer, 52 percent to 45 percent, according to the unofficial count at 8 p.m. as ballots were still being counted.
“Colorado is a state that values diversity,” Polis said in an pre-Election Day interview. “We’re willing to elect people that are going to do a good job for our state regardless of their background. … I think it’s exciting to show how far the LGBT community has come that it doesn’t stand in the way of being elected to the highest office in the state.”
For the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Polis’ win is a watershed moment decades in the making — amplified in part by the resistance movement of the Trump era. National leaders in the LGBT rights movement said Polis’ win would have profound effects for decades to come.
“With Jared Polis becoming the first out gay governor of a state, I have no doubt today, there are children and teenagers and young adults who are looking to him and saying, ‘I’m going to be my state’s governor one day,’” said Rea Carey, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, a nonpartisan political nonprofit. “His win inspires others.”
Polis’ race headlined a record number of LGBT candidacies across the nation. According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political nonprofit that supports LGBT candidates, 147 147 LGBT people ran for state or federal office.
In Colorado, there are six LGBT candidates for the statehouse.
A Polis win could also be considered the final step in rewriting Colorado’s legacy as the “Hate State,” an epithet affixed after voters here in 1992 approved a constitutional amendment forbidding local governments from creating special protections for the LGBT community.
“It’s a historic win — not just for the LGBT community but for the state of Colorado,” said Mary Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. “The fact that the state of Colorado, in 25 years, has gone from being dubbed the ‘Hate State’ to a place that can elect someone who is not just openly gay, but publicly gay, that’s historic.”
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver PostCaspian Polis, 6, son of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, seems giddy as his father accepts the nomination for Colorado Governor during his watch party at the Flatiron Ballroom in the Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel on June 26, 2018 in Broomfield.Polis’ sexual orientation wasn’t a drag
Polis’ victory was paved by years of activism to change the perception of gay people, Parker said.
“It’s the culmination of a lot of work of activists to win the hearts and minds of voters to make sure that when Jared entered the race, he wasn’t judged as a gay man, but as a public servant,” she said.
It wasn’t so long ago that a candidate or elected official coming out sent shock waves through the news media and …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Politics