DENVER (CBS4)– Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Coloradans see a new wave of hate against them. Six bills targeting their community were at the center of a hearing Thursday at the state Legislature.
The bills would:
- Ban same sex marriage and bar same-sex-couples from adopting kids.
- Put doctors in prison for providing gender transition treatment to kids.
- Prevent transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports.
- Allow people who have religious objections to refuse housing, jobs and health care to LGBTQ people.
- And make it harder for the state to help LGBTQ kids.
While none of the bills passed, they could have a lasting impact on the 2020 election.
Opponents say the bills are the most aggressive attack on LGBTQ rights in more than a decade.
“I call these bills, ‘The slate of hate,’” said Rep. Sonja Jacquez Lewis, the first LGBTQ state lawmaker from Boulder County.
Opponents of the bills included seven LGBTQ lawmakers, Colorado’s first gay governor, and the mom of a transgender daughter.
“I’m here to say the government doesn’t get to decide my child’s medical treatment.”
Lewis said a bill criminalizing doctors who provide gender transition treatment is dangerous, “This bill, if passed, would kill transgender youth all over the state.”
Rep. Leslie Herod, the state’s first African American gay lawmaker had a warning for Republicans, “If you continue to bring these bills forward, we will see you at the ballot box.”
“I don’t bring the bill lightly,” said Rep. Steve Humphrey, the sponsor of the bill that rolls back same sex marriage. Humphrey, a Republican representing Weld County, said he’s not worried about electoral consequences, “Honestly I don’t think it hurts the Republican party. I think we need to be going ahead and standing up for conservative principals. We’re certainly pro-family.”
But CBS4 Republican analyst Dick Wadhams said the party should be focused on issues like health care, education and transportation, “If Republicans come across as only being concerned about social issues, we won’t be able to win an election in Colorado.”
Daniel Ramos is executive director of One Colorado, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization. He said the bill sponsors aren’t representative of the Republican party at large, “We know that this is a really small fraction of Republican party where we know that hate is not a conservative value.”
Ramos says Republicans helped pass two LGBTQ equality bills last year. This year’s bills, he says, are a reminder that their work isn’t done, “We worked too hard to go back and we cannot and will not let this happen.”
Gov. Jared Polis said he would veto any anti-LGBTQ bills that reached his desk.
“Our state has come a long way since the days of being known as the ‘hate state,'” Polis said in reference to a ballot measure approved in the early 90s that denied protection based on sexual orientation. “Coloradans won’t return to those bad days.”