Right to Discriminate? Not with a House Dem Majority

(Jan. 25) – Democrats on the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee killed a bill this evening that would have allowed anyone to ignore laws they don’t want to follow and to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The four-hour debate on the bill may serve as a preview to the coming attacks on LGBT rights from a Republican-controlled Congress and a new administration that has vowed to sign the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people and establishes marriage as between one man and one woman. HB17-1013, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance, and Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, 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. “We’ve heard this bill before and it’s just as harmful today as it was then,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, chairman of the committee. “By voting this bill down, we showed that in Colorado, we strongly believe in freedom—freedom of religion, freedom of thought, and the freedom to love who you want.” Similar bills were also brought forward and killed in the House the last two years. This bill died on a party-line 6-3 vote. “Coloradans know this isn’t right and Coloradans know this isn’t fair,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, prior to the committee hearing at a noon press conference hosted by organizations against the bill. “And thankfully here at this capitol, we have a majority of people who stand with us to defeat bills like this or any others that try to make discrimination legal or try to make anyone feel like they are not equal.”

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