Originally published in gayzette, June 2009
Laurin Foxworth knows his time may be up soon. That’s why he’s at the Denver County Clerk’s office, the 83-year-old is standing in between his partner of 10 years, Lewis Thompson, 63, and his friend John Ferguson, 66. The three men are taking part in an act of civil disobedience. They, along with Shari Wilkins and Kate Burns, are blocking the marriage license counter and will not allow any couple to obtain a marriage license until every couple in Colorado is allowed to have one or until they are arrested.
“I don’t know how many days I have left,” Foxworth says. And when he passes, so will his Social Security benefits and pension. His partner Thompson will receive little if anything at all.
The five members of SoulForce, a nonviolent activist group, hold each other’s hands and form a line in front of the counter. It’s the Day of Decision: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, the day the California Supreme Court would rule Proposition 8 — an amendment to the California Constitution that says marriage is between a man and a woman — is legitimate.
Since October 2008, the states of Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have legally recognized same-sex marriage. In 2006, an amendment — number 43 — was passed in Colorado defining marriage between a man and a woman. The same year, Referendum I, a law that would have created civil unions for same-sex couples, was defeated. It was a double whammy for GLBT Coloradans.
Organizers are working on a Colorado ballot initiative for 2010 which could undo the discrimination in our law books. However, the gay community — at least the part with money and political clout — isn’t backing the push. They say it’s too soon.
At 83 years, Foxworth would say it can’t come soon enough.