Last Tuesday, GLAAD issued a statement and a Call to Action in response to comments made by Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe. Renfroe made ugly and divisive comments about the LGBT community on the Senate floor last Monday during a debate on a bill that would allow gay and lesbian state employees to share health benefits with their partners.
"Homosexuality is seen as a violation of this natural creative order, and it is an offense to God," Renfroe was quoted as saying in The Denver Post. "When we create laws that go against what biblically we are supposed to stand for, I think we are allowing to go forward a sin that should not be treated by government as something that is legal. We are taking sins and making them legally OK."
According to The Denver Post, Renfroe also equated loving, committed relationships of gay and lesbian couples with murder and adultery, and suggested that there is Biblical support for executing people for being gay. He also says (while quoting Leviticus) of gay relationships, "they shall surely be put to death."
Senator Renfroe is not only wrong in his assertions, but his divisive attack creates a hostile climate for the LGBT community, and Coloradans and the media in the state have an opportunity to stand up to these types of attacks.
Senator Renfroe represents Greeley, Colorado, and his comments this week show a great insensitivity to the community he serves. Greeley is still mourning last year's tragic murder of an 18-year-old transgender woman, Angie Zapata. Angie was violently beaten to death last July, for no other reason than because she was transgender.
As Greeley residents still feel shock that this tragic hate crime happened in their community, it is especially hurtful for Greeley's Senator Renfroe to make such charged and divisive comments on the Senate floor.
In April, the man accused of murdering Angie Zapata goes on trial in Greeley. But right now, on the floor of the Colorado State Senate, the Senator from Greeley is making comments that fuel a climate of fear and hostility towards LGBT people. That's why it's so vital that constituents make their voices heard when elected officials make hurtful, divisive remarks about the LGBT community, and why media outlets have a responsiblity to scrutinize these kinds of remarks and the consequences they have for the communities these officials serve.