These are all of the Civil Rights bills proposed in the 2018 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.
None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, pros, and cons are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.
Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium and Minor. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!).
Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:
HB18-1046: New Birth Certificate to Reflect Gender Change KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
HB18-1206: Live & Let Live Act KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB18-1245: Prohibit Conversion Therapy Mental Health Provider PASSED HOUSE
HB18-1046: New Birth Certificate to Reflect Gender Change
Currently a court order is required to change gender on a birth certificate, and the certificate is amended, no new one issued. This bill requires that the state registrar issue a new birth certificate rather than an amended one when they receive a written request from the person (if the person is a minor, from their guardian or legal representative) and a statement from a professional medical or mental health care provider stating that the person has undergone a gender transition. The registrar is barred from requesting any additional information or disclosing this information.
KILLED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
Gender transition is a deeply personal path that many do not want to parade in courtrooms, especially since the ultimate decision is left in the hands of a judge, who may or may not be prejudiced. There is nothing more than a professional’s opinion needed for this process. An amended certificate is also an advertisement for the world to see that the transition has occurred. The potential for fraud is laughably small and the potential for good wonderfully large.
This bill removes the judicial system from the process of changing a birth certificate, which opens it up to abuse from those who want to obscure their identity. People also shouldn’t be able to change the certificate on whims that are backed up by potentially shady doctors.
HB18-1206: Live & Let Live Act
Prohibits the state from taking any action against religious organizations that decline to participate in any activity that involves same-sex marriage or transgendered individuals, that decide to not hire or fire people based on same-sex marriage or transgendered, that decide not to allow adoption based on same-sex marriage or transgendered. Prohibits state from taking action against individuals who decline to participate in treatment or counseling of transgendered, who decline to participate in wedding associated services for same-sex marriages or transgendered, who make sex-specific standards for dressing or grooming. Prohibits state from taking action against state employees who express their opposition to same sex marriage or transgendered in the workplace. Allows state employees who deal with marriages to opt-out of licensing or performing them for same-sex or transgendered.
KILLED IN HOUSE COMMITTEE
The state should accept and accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs under the 1st amendment. We make exceptions for Quakers and other pacifists for military service, for Sabbath observers to practice their faith. Those who have sincere religious beliefs that same-sex marriage and transgender are wrong should not be forced to violate their beliefs. The people who need the services for a wedding or want to work in an environment that accepts their sexual identity can do so somewhere else. This doesn’t prohibit same-sex marriages or transgendered individuals, it just allows people who do not approve the right to their own views on the matter.
Discrimination is discrimination, it doesn’t matter what it is hiding behind. The LGBTQ community didn’t choose their sexual identity any more than a black, brown, or white person chose their skin color. We do not accept discrimination in this country based on ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. So, just as we would not accept a baker or a church refusing to serve black people based on personal beliefs, we cannot accept them refusing to serve gay or transgendered people. And the idea that we should allow people to be hired or fired based on their sexual orientation is very troubling.
HB18-1245: Prohibit Conversion Therapy Mental Health Provider
Prohibits a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry or a licensed, certified, or registered mental health provider from engaging in conversion therapy (effort to change sexual orientation) with a minor.
Conversion therapy does not work. Every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of conversion therapy. According to a study done by San Francisco State University, LGBTQ teens who are rejected by their parents or caregivers are 8 times more likely than LGBTQ teens who are accepted to attempt suicide, 6 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 3 times more likely to contact STDs.
This gets in-between parents and their children. It is for parents to decide what kind of approved medical treatments their children receive, not the state.
SB18-241: Colorado Children First Act
Bars the state from taking any adverse actions against a person or organization that advertises, provides, or facilitates adoption or foster care wholly or partially on the basis that they have provided or declined to provide adoption or service based on a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction. The same restriction applies based on that the adoption or foster care person or organization plans to instruct, guide, or raise a child in a manner consistent with any sincerely held religious or moral belief.
We are already in a crisis state when it comes to adoption and foster care. We don’t need to be throwing additional barriers up, but that is exactly what has happened after same-sex marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court and religious-based agencies around the country were forced to close because they would not allow same-sex couples to adopt or serve as foster parents. Whether or not you personally agree, this is a sincerely-held matter of faith from people doing good work and freedom of religion is one of the cornerstones of our society. Charitable religious organizations are already allowed to hire people of their own faith as an accommodation to their beliefs.
In addition to dubious constitutionality (religious beliefs do not trump someone else’s rights under the constitution) this bill has dubious scope. Under the bill’s provisions, a scientologist-based agency would be allowed to only permit adoptions or placement from other scientologists. A religion (and it is VERY easy to recognized as a religion in this country) with the sincerely held belief that black people were evil would be allowed to deny black couples adoptions or foster care placements. More plausibly, the bill would allow these religious agencies to ask about the personal history of potential families and deny placements if they are pro-choice (or, of course, a same-sex couple, the main goal of the bill) or perhaps if they use contraception or some other thing that the religion strenuously objects to but has little to nothing to do with being a capable and loving parent.