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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

Mark Kennedy’s journey on LGBTQ issues outweighs his congressional record

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

The debate over Mark Kennedy, the sole finalist to be the University of Colorado’s next president, has been consumed by votes he took a decade and a half ago while serving as a member of Congress. Specifically, opponents have highlighted Kennedy’s 2004 and 2006 votes to ban same-sex marriage.

That singular focus is not only unfair to Kennedy, but it is bad for the university and bad for Colorado. It threatens to trade a marketplace of ideas, the pre-eminent pillar of an educational institution, for a marketplace of outrage.

To be clear, I could not support Kennedy if he held the same positions today. I am both a vested member of the CU family and a long-time equal rights advocate for the LGBTQ community.

Anyone who currently opposes marriage equality — or the equal and just treatment of the genderqueer community in any manner — would not be an acceptable leader for CU.

But Kennedy has been clear that his thoughts on the topic have evolved; he would not vote the same way today. In an open letter, Kennedy wrote “Students, faculty, staff and members of our community will have my full support and respect no matter who they love or how they identify.

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