DENVER, CO– The Colorado House LGBTQ Caucus today released the following statements on the hateful and despicable slate of anti-LGBTQ bills that House Republicans have introduced this session:
“This year’s slew of hateful, bigoted anti-LGBTQ bills would harm our youth and eliminate the rights LGBTQ Coloradans to marry who they love,” said LGBTQ Caucus Chair Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver. “We are not going back to when Colorado was known as the ‘hate state.’ Some say it’s not the government’s role to interfere with personal liberty. Some would say this is textbook overreach. I would say it’s time to work on actual issues that improve people’s lives here in Colorado, such as expanding access to life-saving HIV prevention medication.”
“The systematic attack on the trans community is being fueled and fanned by the federal government and the Trump administration,” said Rep. Titone, D-Arvada. “Their erasure of trans people from websites, documents, and from health insurance coverage was just the beginning. This bill, and other similar legislation being introduced in states around the country, are meant to embolden the dehumanization of the transgender community. By denying appropriate and affirming healthcare, we are setting trans youth up for a more difficult future and the possibility of depression or suicide. We need to value our young people and allow our healthcare professionals to make the decisions, and not be limited by politicians. We won’t be erased.”
“These bills would deny LGBTQ couples the fundamental right to marry who they love and start a family, ripping away hard-fought rights that the vast majority of Coloradans support,” said Rep. Esgar, D-Pueblo. “I was disappointed to see so many of my colleagues–who say they are my friends–support legislation that would prevent my wife and me from adopting children, if we chose to, or strip away our marriage license. These bills are a disgrace, plain and simple.”
“Republicans want to send Colorado back to the dark ages, and we simply won’t allow it,” said Rep. Herod, D-Denver. “These bills are a broad and cruel attack on the entire LGBTQ community in Colorado: trans athletes, loving couples, queer children — no one is spared. I would say my GOP colleagues should be ashamed of themselves, but the fact that they had the gall to draft and introduce these bills shows what types of policies Coloradans would be living under if Republicans controlled our state government. Make no mistake, these bills will die today.”
“House Bill 1114 is an affront to health care professionals and health care in Colorado,” said State, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee Member Rep. Jaquez Lewis, D-Lafayette. “It is an attack on trans youth all across the state. This bill says that, as a pharmacist, I could be arrested for filling a life-affirming prescription for one of my patients. This bill says doctors can be jailed for giving medical care to people in need. This is–pure and simple–a horrible bill aimed at our most at-risk citizens. We must stand up against this slate of hateful, discriminatory bills.”
While House Democrats stand up for LGBTQ equality and rights, Republican members of the General Assembly, according to Rep. Shane Sandrdige, R-Colorado Springs, are promoting the “heterosexual model with a kid” as the “natural model.” They’re advancing these bills as “a reminder of what we should strive for and what mother nature has already decided,” Sandridge told Colorado Public Radio.
In a comment to the Colorado Sun on his bill to strip away marriage license from LGBTQ couples, Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance, said “I think that each of these bills are focused on an issue that’s problematic.” The House Democratic Caucus disagrees: LGBTQ marriage equality is not problematic; it is a fundamental right guaranteed under the US constitution, and we won’t let Republicans strip it away.
Background on GOP anti-LGBTQ legislation:
HB20-1272 “Colorado Natural Marriage And Adoption Act” aims to stop marriage licenses from bieng provided to LGBTQ couples. The bill would limit adoption to only prospective parents whose marriage consists of one man and one woman, prohibiting LGBTQ couples from adopting children.
HB 20-1114 “Protection of Minors from Mutilation and Sterilization” would imprison doctors and other health care providers for following best practices and existing standards of medical care for transgender patients, standards that are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It makes providing gender-affirming health care for a youth, often lifesaving care, a class three felony, which has a maximum sentence of up to 12 years in prison in Colorado.
HB20-1273 “Equality And Fairness In Youth Sports Act ” would prevent transwomen athletes in grades six through 12 from participating on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity. It would require invasive questions and medical tests if a student’s sex is in question, requiring the student to prove that she was assigned female at birth based on a signed physician’s statement that would include information about the student’s reproductive anatomy and levels of naturally occurring testosterone. It would also require a chromosome analysis– just for a student to play sports in school.
HB20-1033 “Live and Let Live Act” would codify discrimination by allowing any business to deny services based on sexual orientation or gender expression. LGBTQ couples with their children could be turned away from any restaurant or establishment in the state. The bill is a blatant attempt to undermine the state’s ability to adequately protect against discrimination in workplaces, housing and places of accommodation.