The Colorado House today passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The bill won final passage 39-26 after passing in the Senate earlier, and it now heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has said he will sign it.
The law is slated to take effect May 1.
The vote punctuates a dramatic political shift in Colorado, where voters approved a gay-marriage ban seven years ago – meaning civil unions are the only option for gay couples in the state for now. That could change with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage bans in the coming months.
“We really do stand on the edge of history,” said Democratic Rep. Pete Lee. “For some in this chamber, this is the reason why we are here.”
Many LGBT students in school participated in interscholastic sports (23.2%) or intramural sports teams (13.4%), yet LGBT students were about half as likely to play interscholastic sports as their non-LGBT peers (23.2% vs 47.8%).
LGBT student athletes reported higher grade point averages (GPAs) as team members (3.2) and team leaders (3.4) compared to non-athletes (3.0). LGBT student athletes were also more likely to report having higher self-esteem and feelings of belonging to their school.
More than a quarter of LGBT student athletes reported having been harassed or assaulted while playing on a school sports team because of their sexual orientation (27.8%) or gender expression (29.4%).
More than half of LGBT students who took a P.E. class were bullied or harassed during P.E. because of their sexual orientation (52.8%) or gender expression (50.9%).
LGBT students commonly avoided athletic spaces at school including locker rooms (39.0%), P.E. classes (32.5%) and school athletic fields and facilities (22.8%) because of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.
A vast majority (74.9%) of LGBT students said that they were uncomfortable talking to their P.E. teachers or coaches about LGBT issues. Students who did feel comfortable talking to their P.E. teachers or coaches experienced less discomfort, harassment and assault in athletics than their peers who did not feel comfortable.
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Eric Pizana is the Program and Volunteer Coordinator at Inside/Out Youth Services. I think Eric has earned the 2013 Community Service Award because of his self-less and valiant efforts and successes in working with the LGBTIQ youth of Colorado Springs. Eric is one of the most compassionate and understanding people that you will ever meet. He lives to help the youth get through some of the toughest times of their lives and tries to make them comfortable with themselves and who they are. He has made such a huge impact on countless young lives. When volunteering with Eric I watched him very closely so that I could model his friendly and eloquent behavior with others, and so I could try to learn to be as kind and giving as he is. Eric Pizana is very personable and optimistic, which enhances his talent in his work at Inside/Out. When you first meet Eric, you can’t help but smile because the work that he does is so generous, and he carries that generosity with him everywhere. He is always positive, and on some of my most negative days, he turns my mood around just with his kindness. Working with Eric and watching him change lives of youth for the better will always be fond memories of mine. It is rare that humans are pleasant, kindhearted, giving and altruistic, but it is even rarer to meet someone with those qualities, and Eric Pizana is one of those people. Anyone who has ever met or known Eric would agree with me that he deserves this award, but he probably would say that someone else deserves it more than he does, because that is how he always thinks. He considers the needs of others long before he considers his own. He will go out of his way to do a simple favor for someone who needs it, that is why he is an amazing friend, and the best role model for LGBTIQ youth that there could possibly be. Please vote for Eric Pizana, we should let him know how we feel about him in our community, since he does the same for us every day.
Nomination Response from Eric Pizana: “What a wonderfully written nomination for the Community Service award. Thank you! It is a blessing to be noticed for the work I love to do!”
With the training Inside/Out Youth Services provides to youth and educators we help take the BULL out of bullying! Support Spirit Day