DENVER — At a Pride rally downtown on Sunday, elected leaders and activists warned LGBTQ rights could be at risk following Friday's Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
Legal experts warn the ruling may have laid the groundwork to overturn the court's same-sex marriage decision. The speakers gathered on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol Sunday resolved to fight to protect their rights.
"We’re not going to hide. We’re not going to be afraid. We’re going to celebrate who we are," said Nadine Bridges, Executive Director of One Colorado.
"Even on the cloudiest days, sometimes you see a rainbow," Bridges said.
Bridges said the thousands of attendees at this year's in-person Denver Pride show that the party is a protest.
"The fact that we're even celebrating is rebellion," she said.
But for some younger activists, the understanding that hard-fought rights might not remain forever caused fear.
"As of super recently, I’ve seen all this anti-queer legislation and all this hatred coming out like a snake from a hole, and it’s upsetting," 17-year-old Briggs said.
"I think Pride every year should be a protest for what we believe in and what needs to be done," they said. "One day, I know what's going to happen. When they ban gay marriage, they're going to come for me."
Bridges said she will work to make sure that doesn't happen. For her, the fight is also personal.
"I myself am going to celebrate nine years of marriage to my wife next week, and it really breaks my heart that someone would want to take that away from me or from anybody else," she said.
Other elected leaders, including Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Rep. Brianna Titone, the chairperson of the legislature's LGBTQ caucus, have vowed to file legislation and ballot initiatives to enshrine LGBTQ rights in state law.
Briggs and other young activists, like 15-year-old Sam Charney and 17-year-old Jolette Oseguera-Martinez, said the support from the thousands in attendance at Pride made them feel comfortable.
"I was able to finally find my community as well as be my true self," Charney said.
Oseguera-Martinez said Pride celebrations could be both party and protest.
"We can easily talk about how we don’t like the things that our government is currently doing and also smile and laugh with one another," she said.
"To think that people actually care about me and that I will be okay is a crazy thing for a queer kid," Briggs said.
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