During his time running Ken Buck’s campaign against U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, John Swartout watched as one Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Buck explained his opposition to equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, claiming that being gay is a choice and comparing being gay to alcoholism.
Now, less than two years after Buck uttered those words heard round the LGBT world, John Swartout is parting from his former candidate’s positions and voicing his support for civil unions in Colorado. His voice is one of a growing number of Republicans calling for the passage of the Colorado Civil Union Act, including new Republican group, Coloradans for Freedom.
We caught up with Swartout to thank him for his courageous support for SB-2 and to hear more about why he’s hoping that civil unions will become a reality in our state.
Question: As a Republican — why do you support civil unions?
Answer: Supporting civil unions is about freedom. Individuals should be free to pursue a life of meaning and purpose as they define it. Government should not treat gay couples differently than it does straight couples.
Question: Increasingly, these issues have become less partisan — why do you think that is?
Answer: To me it is about basic fairness. We live within a remarkable system which addresses injustices slowly, but it eventually addresses them.
Question: What can people be doing to increase support for civil unions within Republican circles?
Answer: It is important to stay positive about the issue. I have always taken my lead from Martin Luther King, Jr. It is more effective to be defined by what you stand for rather than by what you are against.