Usually, rendering differences have to do with the browsers used, not the server side application language.
I'm using Google Chrome, and it looks fine on the .cfm page.
IE8 also looks like it rendered it just fine, too.
Thanks for the response Aegis.
Pretty interesting solution:
I had an HTML comment in my application.cfc file that was causing the problem, but not actually generating any errors.
My comment was like this <!-- test bed variables -->
Once I changed the comment to use coldfusion commenting <!--- test bed variables ---> (3 dashes instead of 2) it worked perfectly!
Luckily, I found the solution just goofing around, in my mind there was no reason for changing the comment style to make a difference. The only reason I even looked at the application.cfc file was because it had to be the only piece that would affect the page in CF but not in HTML.
Thank you for your response! I believe by the time you looked at it, I probably had it fixed.
Code Editor coloring can be a godsend if your editor of choice has it.
I setup DW to color HTML comments DRASTICALLY different when editing .CFM and .CFC files. Helps me catch those types of problems real quick. Glad you got it fixed.