“You cannot be conservative without being an advocate for equality,” Mario Nicolais, a prominent conservative attorney and columnist from Colorado, says. “Supporting equality is not just a tenet of being a conservative – it’s a tenet of our entire constitutional framework.”
For years now, he has been vocal about the many ways that his conservative values intersect with his commitment to dignity for all people in the United States. He looks to landmark developments throughout history – such as the formation of the NAACP and the fight for women’s suffrage – as strong examples of where conservatives helped to push toward greater freedom and liberty for all.
Nicolais has long been a public advocate for policies specifically supporting the movement for LGBTQ equality. In the early 2010s, he was one of the leading voices in support of a law in Colorado to allow same-sex couples to join together in civil union, and when the Obergefell case seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, he gladly joined with more than 300 fellow conservatives in signing onto a friend-of-the-court brief advocating for respect and dignity for all couples.
Since the Supreme Court victory on the freedom to marry in 2015, Nicolais has continued to support LGBTQ inclusion in Colorado and beyond. This includes strong support for LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections – laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces like businesses and hospitals.
Again and again, Nicolais has shared this viewpoint – to lawmakers in Colorado, to fellow conservative leaders, to friends and family, and to readers of publications like The Colorado Sun, where he regularly publishes commentary, some focused on upholding basic freedoms for LGBTQ people.
In February 2019, he wrote in The Colorado Sun, “I’ve spent almost a decade working on behalf of equality for members of our LGBT community. My conservative belief in individual rights founded in the twin pillars of liberty and equality drove me to take a principled stand in contrast to the policy positions my political party adopted.”