As the Colorado Legislature kicked off its 2020 session today, several hundred conservatives rallied on the Capitol’s west steps.
The crowd was overwhelmingly composed of anti-vaccination activists, most of whom were women, many with children in tow.
Organized by “conservatarian” radio host Kim Monson, the “Freedom vs. Force” event’s lineup of speakers was exclusively female, featuring a dozen or so women decrying government regulation on a wide variety of issues, most of which were health-related.
At least two-thirds of the signs expressed opposition to vaccines, particularly childhood vaccines.
Claims included: “Vaccines are made with aborted fetal cells;” “Impossible to eradicate measles with live virus vaccine;” “Vaccines contain insect and human DNA;” and “U.S. law classifies vaccines as unavoidably unsafe.”
Activists who did not want to give their names stressed not only the inefficacy but the danger of vaccines, saying “Inject Disease, Expect Disease.” They dismissed mainstream medical support for childhood vaccinations as a corrupt, profit-driven agenda benefiting big pharmacological companies and vaccination patent holders.
Other groups and causes were represented at the rally, including gun rights activists, anti-tax activists, and opponents of public healthcare. One woman carried a sign that read “Democrats forcing LGBTQ ed on our Kids.”
Western Slope activist Sherronna Bishop spoke about specific bills from the 2019 session, focusing on those she believed reflected an LGBT agenda.
She described HB19-1032, the comprehensive sex education bill that was the subject of a religious right misinformation campaign last year, as a “grooming process.” Bishop’s objection to a “new LBGTQP mandate that requires that every high schooler have this information before they can graduate,” drew cries of anger from the crowd.
Bishop concluded by lamenting new restrictions the state placed on underage marriages. The law now requires children to be at least 16 years old and a court must agree to the union.
At the end of the rally, Monson verbally recognized numerous Republican legislators, inviting them up to the podium. Most arrived near the end of the rally, though several, including Reps. Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge, Rod Pelton, and Susan Beckman had been circulating through the crowd during the speeches.
They were later joined by House Republican Leader Patrick Neville, House GOP Caucus Chair Lori Saine, Rep. Perry Buck, Rep. Mark Baisley, State Senators Vicki Marble, Ray Scott, Paul Lundeen and Rob Woodward
Also attending, though not speaking, were a handful of the Proud Boys, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Local leader Louie Huey displayed a sign reading, “Polis can confiscate deez Nuts,” presumably a reference to the bipartisan Extreme Risk Protection Order bill signed into law last year by Colorado’s Democratic Governor, Jared Polis.