Colorado Governor Hickenlooper and wife announce split

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and his wife, Helen Thorpe

As reported by Denver publication Westword, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and his wife, journalist Helen Thorpe have announced their separation. In a statement issued by the Governor’s office, the couple claim the split is amicable.

“After years of marriage that have added tremendous love and depth to both of our lives, we have decided to separate. This decision is mutual and amicable. We continue to have the utmost respect for each other, and we remain close friends. We intend to continue functioning as a family that spends a great deal of time together. In fact, we will embark on our annual family vacation together this week, share meals often, and plan to spend holidays together. You can continue to expect to see both of us out in the community — sometimes together, sometimes solo. Please feel free to include both of us in social gatherings as we will not find it awkward.

Our chief concern right now is the well-being of our son, so we ask everyone to respect our privacy as we make this transition. While public office made this announcement necessary, it will be the only statement we make on this private matter. We want to thank our friends, family, and community for all of the support you have shown us as a couple and as individuals, and for the support we know you will provide as we move forward.”

The governor’s office took the statement a step further, adding the following to potentially squelch any further speculation as to the reasons for the marriage ending.

Both the Governor and Ms. Thorpe want the public to know that neither has had an affair, that they did seek extended counseling, and that this decision is unrelated to the difficult events Colorado has faced this summer. While the Governor will be moving into the Governor’s Mansion, he will also continue to spend time with his son at their private home.

More to follow on this story as it develops.


Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips breaks silence

Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips and his business marquee

The man behind the Lakewood Colorado bakery scandal has finally broken his silence. Jack Phillips, the owner of Lakewood’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, told Denver local CBS affiliate KCNC-TV that he has no problem with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) customers or staff members – but nonetheless does not support gay marriage.

“If it came to that point, we would close down the bakery before we would compromise our beliefs, so that may be what it comes to,” Phillips said. “We’ll see.”

As posted in our blog previously, Phillips’ choices to deny service to a same-sex couple and his subsequent statements have been called into question. The man himself seems to be a walking contradiction; claiming to harbor no ill will towards the gay community, but yet refusing a request for a wedding cake to mark the occasion because it is against his “beliefs.” Can you really have one without the other?

Phillips has faced a firestorm of media attention since the story broke about his refusal. It has even spawned the launch of a Facebook page for those choosing to boycott the bakery. And just this past weekend, the bakery was picketed by protesters for their stance on gays.

“What’s next? Will gays be denied the right to eat cake from this bakery,” one protester asked. “This kind of homophobia and bigotry must stop!”

“Today they are denying a same-sex couple service,” said another protester. “What’s next, denial because they are ethnic or a mixed race couple? There has to be some understanding, and we have to start somewhere.”

Phillips denied another couple the same request earlier this year, but seems to feel that his cakes are suitable for consumption by gays for other occasions.

“If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever. It’s just the wedding cake – not the people, not their lifestyle.”

Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, the couple at the center of this controversy, were “stunned and humiliated” by their exchange with Phillips. The couple, who plan to wed this fall in Massachusetts this fall, asked the bakery for a cake to cap off a planned reception in Denver later this year.

“It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter,” Mullins, 28, told Denver Westword. “We got up to leave, and to be totally honest, I said, ‘F**k you and your homophobic cake shop.’ And I may or may not have flipped him off.”

From a P.R. perspective, the true test of Masterpiece Cakeshop’s longevity is yet to come. The boycott Facebook page has more than 500 supporters and is growing daily. And there is another protest planned for this weekend, with several local organizations pledging their support. Shop owner Phillips may have to enact the option for closure sooner than he had anticipated.

What are your thoughts on this continuing story? Offer your comments below…

Denver mourns the loss of a theater icon: Robert Garner

Theater impresario
Robert Garner

The Denver theater community has lost a true legend. Founder and former chairman of the Denver Center Attractions, Robert Garner, passed away at his home on July 19th after a brief illness. An icon on the Denver theatre scene for years, the death of the Honorary Trustee of The Denver Center for the Performing Arts was announced by his hand-picked successor at DCPA, Chairman and CEO Randy Weeks.

“I have lost a dear, dear friend and mentor,” Weeks says. “He set me on a path that I would never have considered and I’m now completely grateful to have been exposed to theater and be able to make a living in it.

Garner’s vision for what Denver could achieve as an arts city began in the early 1960’s when he began presenting touring shows. But in 1979, Garner made his idea of a performing arts center a reality. One of the notable highlights of his illustrious career was his booking of the first national tour of the legendary Broadway musical “A Chorus Line.”

Garner retired from the DCPA in 1992.

Garner left an indelible impression on the city he loved, and called home for so many years. His legacy is summed up best by his longtime friend and protégé, Randy Weeks.

“He was a man of great integrity,” says weeks. “ Commercial theater has lost a great man.”