A bill that would have weakened anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in the name of religious freedom was killed by Democrats in Colorado’s legislature yesterday.
It was Republican lawmakers’ second try at passing the “Live And Let Live Act,” which would have allowed those with “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” not to serve LGBTQ people.
The bill defines the beliefs and convictions it protects as those “regarding the sex of two individuals who may enter into a marriage” and that “male (man) or female (woman)
LGBTQ advocates have referred to it as a “license to discriminate,” and it applies not just to individuals, but to religious organizations and “private associations,” which includes businesses and corporations.
The list of potential consequences for LGBTQ people, had the bill became law, is long. Not only could any business refuse to serve LGBTQ people, but they could also be fired from a job, refused a marriage license, denied housing, or turned away by adoption and foster agencies.
The bill specifically threatens the transgender community by allowing employers to adopt discriminatory policies around bathroom usage and dress code and allowing medical providers to deny care to transgender individuals.
Daniel Ramos of the pro-LGBTQ organization One Colorado celebrated the defeat of the “mean-spirited” legislation in a press release:
“This bill was the most mean-spirited anti-LGBTQ bills to be introduced in the Colorado legislature in years. Freedom of religion is important, but that freedom doesn’t give any of us the right to harm
others,or to discriminate against others. Nobody should be turned away from a business, denied service, fired from their job, or evicted from their home simply because of who they are. Colorado has sent a strong, clear message that these license to discriminate bills have no place in our state.”
Colorado conservatives have been riled up about religious freedom in recent years, thanks in large part to the Supreme Court case involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. That case led to Republican legislators attempting to defund the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which ruled in favor of the gay couple, and introduce the Live and Let Live Act last year.
Prime sponsors included State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) and State Rep. Stephen Humphrey (R-Eaton), but many Republican lawmakers signed on to support the bill, including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) and State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone).
The bill was killed Tuesday on a party line vote in the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee.