Anti-LGBTQ Adoption Bill Defeated in Republican Controlled Colorado Senate

By Shane Stahl • May 4, 2018 • 1:52 pm

A Senate bill that would have allowed private and taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to openly discriminate against LGBTQ people was defeated in the state senate on May 1.

Senate Bill 241 was defeated on a voice vote on second reading. The official vote, taken later, showed the measure failed 16-19, with two Republicans — Sens. Don Coram of Montrose and Beth Martinez Humenik of Thorton — voting against it.

The legislation would have allowed adoption agencies to refuse placement of a child in a home by claiming a religious exemption. The bill’s Senate sponsor, Kevin Lundberg, has pushed for a law that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ Coloradans under the premise of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Sen. Dominick Moreno, a gay member of the Joint Budget Committee, offered the following in opposition:

“This issue will keep coming up again and again – this issue of my civil rights versus someone else’s religious liberty. As a gay man, there are still places where I’m not welcome. I’d be a good father. If I’m willing to provide a good home, a loving and stable household for a child, what more matters than that?”

Daniel Ramos of One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBT equality group, said in a statement:

“The freedom of religion is important. That is why it is protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution. But no one’s religion should serve as a license to discriminate in adoption, foster care or child abuse in our great state. This was another installment in a series of horrific bills we have seen this session that would take Colorado backward in the areas of LGBTQ equality, and its defeat today is a victory for the people of Colorado.”

Colorado finds itself at the epicenter over the battle on LGBTQ discrimination as the state which the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission originated from. The case concerns a Colorado baker who refused service to a same-sex couple seeking a cake for their impending wedding by claiming it would be a violation of his religious beliefs. The case was argued before the Supreme Court on December 5, and a ruling will be issued by the end of June.

The state’s Civil Rights Commission, which defends victims of discrimination in all forms, is also being hotly debated in the state legislature. Although funding for the commission has been approved through 2019, the issue of further funding for the next seven years is currently a point of contention in the legislature, with some lawmakers feeling the commission has overstepped its bounds. While the House passed a clean version of the bill, opponents in the Senate have added amendments that would not only make it more difficult for Coloradans who have been discriminated against to seek justice, but would weaken protections for Coloradans who have been discriminated against.

To follow all pending legislation regarding nondiscrimination, use our Legislative Tracker here.

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