DENVER — For supporters of the Equal Pay movement, April 2 marks the day women's wages "catch up" with men. It's the day supporters say women finally earn what men earned for the year before.
For the Colorado Legislature, it meant voting on Senate Resolution 2019-009: the Equal Pay Day resolution. On Tuesday, 30 senators of the 35-member upper chamber voted to mark April 2, 2019, as "Equal Pay Day."
According to the resolution's text, this means that members of the Colorado Senate, on this day, "urge governmental agencies, nonprofit and labor organizations, businesses and individuals to take steps to implement equal-pay policies to help close the pay gap for Colorado's women and minorities."
Three senators - all of them Republicans - voted against. Two others, Sens. Mike Foote (D-Boulder County) and Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) had excused absences.
Sens. John Cooke (R-Weld County), Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) and Rob Woodward (R-Larimer County) all voted against the resolution.
Supporters of the movement cite research saying Colorado women earned just 86 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Supporters specifically cite white men as making the most out of any group in the country.
Detractors of the equal pay concept often say there is not necessarily evidence to suggest the gender pay gap is the result of wage discrimination but instead could be because women more often request flexible hours or work part-time.
Marble, speaking on the Senate floor about why she was voting no, pointed out that not every white man makes the same as other white men.
To watch the full remarks, head to the video below or this link
"It's just not a given that anybody is going to be making the same - it doesn't matter that you're a white man or a purple man," she said to the Senate. "People are hired at different levels in construction, white collar jobs, grocery stores - they have a start pay and then they move up."
After that, she explained that she felt angry "in" this resolution, but isn't sure where that anger's directed.
"I'm not mad at anybody," she continued. "I don't care how much you make, where you work. I'm just glad you do a damn good job at what you were hired to do..."
She explained that she didn't feel cheated by the system as a single mother. She makes the best of the life she was given.
As she went on, Marble expressed skepticism at the data that points to a gender wage gap and pointed to her family as an example.
"I know that, in my family, the Mexicans, the Native Americans, the Chinese, the Muslim, the Jews - they're all making what they can and we've never talked about someone being paid more than another for doing a job."
In her floor speech, Marble also said that men and women work - and that we work hard. She also pointed to the fact that white men are believed to make the most compared to women and other ethnicities as a reason she couldn't vote for the resolution.
"And I just can't take part in something that is so focused against a white man - because frankly, I feel white men have done a lot for this country..." she explained near the end of her speech. "And I want to thank them - and I really want to say how grateful I am to be working side-by-side by all of you."
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