DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado’s new first gentleman is taking up the cause of animal rights. Marlon Reis is Gov. Jared Polis’ partner.
“My passion is definitely animal welfare,” Reis told lawmakers in the state legislature’s animal welfare caucus, known as CLAWS.
In his first public appearance, Reis opened up about his love of animals, from the first family’s rescued terrier Gia to the cats he grew up with.
“I remember forming bonds with animals that I just didn’t feel with people. Like a feeling of receiving back affection that you give,” said Reis. “They don’t ask anything but your time.”
He promised lawmakers he would lend his time and support to their legislation. They laid out a slate of bills helping animals of all kinds, including Rep. Alex Valdez’s bill aimed at preventing those who abuse animals from going on to abuse people.
“There are two aspects to it. One of them just keeps animals out of homes of those with a history of abuse. The other part allows judges to sentence anger management or mental health treatment,” said Valdez.
Lawmakers say they will also introduce bills to address farm animals, circus animals and endangered species.
Sen. Joanne Ginal, co-chair of CLAWS, is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the trading of things like the tusks and skins.
“One thing that Colorado can do to help in decreasing the possibility of extinction of a lot of endangered species,” said Ginal.
More than 100 animal lovers, many of them members of the non-profit Colorado Voters for Animals, attended the CLAWS caucus meeting with Reis, thanking him for his interest in animal welfare.
“To have the first gentleman means a lot,” said Ginal.