State of Colorado: Constitutional Discrimination?

Written by:  Timothy Wakimura

Christian groups in Colorado, such as Focus on the Family and The Alliance Defense Fund, are backing a proposed state constitutional amendment allegedly protecting religious freedom by preventing the state of Colorado from penalizing individuals or religious organizations that are acting on “sincerely held religious belief.”  The proposed amendment would prevent the government from “burdening” an individual or organization because of their religious beliefs.  Other groups, such as One Colorado and GLBT Community Center of Colorado, are opposing the amendment on the grounds that the amendment would undermine state laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination.  The concern is that the initiative may potentially have implications on laws relating to education, employment, reproductive rights, civil rights and a host of other areas.  For example, the amendment could allow a pharmacist to refuse to fill a birth control prescription, an employer to refuse to hire based on sexual orientation or gender identity, or a teacher to refuse to teach sex education or evolution simply by citing religious convictions.

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