(March 16) – Democrats on the House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee killed a bill this afternoon that would have allowed anyone to claim their religion gives them permission to ignore laws they don’t want to follow.
HB16-1180, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance, and co-sponsored by 23 other Republican members would have allowed any individual or business to ignore state law on the basis of religious belief. This would allow private businesses to refuse service for religious reasons based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender, or almost any other quality they claim to find objectionable.
“This question has been litigated for centuries,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette. “We have well established case law that addresses the balance between religious liberty and equal protection under the law. This bill ignores that balance and instead legalizes discrimination.”
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental American right but cannot be used as justification to deny the rights of others,” testified Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav.
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce also spoke against the bill, testifying that it would harm business in the state and condones injustice. A similar bill was signed into law in Indiana, and the Hoosier State has since experienced a dearth of economic growth and the cancellation of many national and international events and conventions, harming the state’s overall economy significantly.
A similar bill was also killed in the House last year.