Colorado leaders gather to speak out against religious freedom bill in advance of voting

Colorado leaders gather to speak out against HB 1031, the hotly contested "religious freedom" bill. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Colorado leaders gather to speak out against HB 1031, the hotly contested "religious freedom" bill. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Representative Leslie Herod (left) and DA Beth McCann (right) gathered to oppose HB 1013, the hotly contested “religious freedom” bill. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Update: The Colorado state House rejected House Bill 1013 Wednesday afternoon–2017 marks the third consecutive year a religious freedom bill has died in committee.

Prominent Colorado leaders and business owners gathered at the State Capitol Wednesday to speak out against House Bill 1013, or the “free exercise of religion” bill, just before the 1:30 p.m. vote.

House Bill 1013 specifies that state actions may not impinge on exercise of religion and that sincere proponents of a belief system may act or refuse to act based on religious beliefs. It is similar in nature to bills introduced in Mississippi and North Carolina.

Critics worry that bills like these legitimize discrimination by enabling business owners to refuse service to individuals based on their religious beliefs and/or sexuality.

“The right to practice and profess your religion and faith is a fundamental right guaranteed to us by our U.S. Constitution,” said Beth McCann Denver District Attorney. “As a private citizen and a public official, I cherish that right, but that right cannot carelessly trump the rule of law.”

Colorado leaders gather to speak out against HB 1031, the hotly contested "religious freedom" bill. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Colorado leaders gather to speak out against HB 1031, the hotly contested “religious freedom” bill. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Colorado has seen similar bills for the last three consecutive years and killed them each time. Representative Leslie Herod said she expects this year to be no different.

“Colorado continues to elect legislators who believe in our values, and that gives us a majority of legislators that don’t believe in discrimination for any reason,” she said. “I am confident that this bill will be struck down in committee today.”

Senator Dominick Moreno, Representative Daneya Esgar and Kelly Brough, Denver Chamber of Commerce President, were among the political and religious leaders to join Herod and McCann at the capitol in opposition of house bill 2013.

“I want to send a message that we are here fighting for the citizens of Colorado,” Herod said.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here.