Yesterday's House Judiciary Committee vote to kill a referred measure enshrining discrimination against gays and lesbians (i.e. barring gays and lesbians from ever marrying) into our state's constitution reflects how integral religious conservatives are to the GOP's political fortunes.
The only reason for pursuing such a ballot measure is to agitate religious conservatives to get out and vote Republican. This same strategy was deployed in 2004 to mobilize religious conservatives in places like Ohio, where Bush narrowly won.
These recurring, anti-gay ballot measures are clever and effective tools that allow evangelical churches to become part of the GOP's GOTV operations without technically crossing the line prohibiting tax-exempt entities from openly advocating for a particular candidate.
Colorado already defines marriage as between one man and one woman, thanks to a so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" supported in 2000 by Governor Owens (apparently this act was insufficient to defend his marriage).
How ironic that this latest measure to "defend marriage" would have been signed by our separated governor before going to the voters?
Let's be honest, these never-endeing attempts to scapegoat and disenfranchise gays have nothing to do with "defending marriage" and everything to do with stoking intolerance and extremism to secure dynastic political power for the GOP.
This unholy union between religious conservatives and the Republican party is not unlike the arrangement between the Saudi royal family and Wahhabist fanatics in Saudi Arabia. The deal goes something like this: "We (the royals) get the political power and oil and you (clergy/Wahhabists) get the social issues like women's rights, education and morality; just as long as you help us maintain our power by manipulating people's minds and behavior through religion."
Obviously, things are nowhere nearly that bad here. However, the principle is still the same as the GOP promotes the religious conservatives' agenda on issues of women's rights (abortion), education (vouchers for religious schools and teaching creationism) and morality (gay marriage).
When it comes to leveraging religious extremism for political ends, the GOP's House of Bush and the House of Saud have a lot more in common than you think.