Joseph A. Marchione Collection
This collection contains items that document the LGBTQ+ community during one of the most historically important moments in Colorado history. Amendment 2 was a landmark initiative that took away protections for people based on their sexual orientation. Colorado voters approved Amendment 2 in 1992. Amendment 2 was the response by the religious conservative organization Focus on the Family to many cities in Colorado enacting antidiscrimination laws to protect the LGBT community. Amendment 2 amended the state constitution to prevent any city, town or county from taking legislative, executive or judicial action to recognize homosexuals or bisexuals as a protected class. A slim margin of voters approved the amendment 53% for it and 47% against it. In response to the passage of the amendment, many organizations formed to fight to have the amendment overturned. Among these organizations, such as The Gay and Lesbian Fund and the Gill Foundation, were EPOColorado (Equal Protection Campaign) and CLIP (Colorado Legal Initiatives Project).
The items Joseph Marchione donated document the early fight against Amendment 2 as EPOColorado was the main driver of its early opposition. Marchione’s photographs reveal that EPOC received public and vigorous support from the widely popular actor Ian McKellan.
This photograph depicts Donovan Dowling, an EPOColorado volunteer, among a crowd of people at the March on Washington in 1993.
Thanks to the generosity of the Gill Foundation, in October 2019 History Colorado hired the Gill Foundation Associate Curator of LGBTQ+ History to manage and expand History Colorado’s LGBTQ+ holdings and to develop the Gill Foundation LGBTQ Archive in recognition of the significant contributions of Tim Gill to the state of Colorado. All LGBTQ+ acquisitions from 2019 through 2021 reflect the support of the Gill Foundation.
Dedicated to documenting the varied experiences of all Coloradans, History Colorado and the Gill Foundation initiated the LGBTQ Collecting Initiative to proactively build a research archive that preserves and promotes the contributions, history, and voices of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community.
Joseph Marchione was a volunteer in the fight to save Denver's equal protection ordinance, which led to being hired by EPOColorado in the campaign against Amendment 2 in 1992. He was at first an Office Manager, then an Assistant Campaign Manager as he got more involved in strategy and communications. After 1992, his community involvement pivoted to The Experience workshops.
These items come from Joseph Marchione’s own personal collection he kept, purchased, or created the items here within.