Four Republicans in Colorado introduced laws this month in an effort to ban same-sex marriage. They also introduced other bills which are described as “the largest and most alarming set of anti-LGBTQ proposals in years.”
Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey – a professional marriage counselor – was the prime sponsor of the “Colorado Natural Marriage And Adoption Act”, along with co-sponsors Reps. Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.
The bill asks the Colorado House of Representatives to begin “enforcing state law that marriage is between one man and one woman” while also “restricting adoption of children by spouses in a marriage and partners in a civil union…that consist of one man and one woman.”
The act, in summary, would “permit a clerk to issue a license to marry and a marriage certificate only upon satisfactory proof that the marriage will be between one man and one woman, regardless of judicial decisions to the contrary.”
The proposed bill was shot down in a marathon session this Friday.
Sandridge admits that the proposal wasn’t intended to pass, but instead send a message. “We all know this bill isn’t gonna pass in this current left-wing environment,” Sandridge told Colorado Public Radio. “It’s to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child.”
Yet, most Colorado Republicans, the minority in the House, did not get behind the message. The party declined to comment publicly, while Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert deferred comment to the bill sponsors. Former Senator Greg Brophy joined in criticism of the proposal.
I rarely criticize my side. In America we form coalitions before the election; that's how it works.
But this bill goes beyond being bad policy. It should have never been introduced; no one should vote for it.
This bill sucks, and it reflects poorly on my side. https://t.co/f43tNlegg0
— Greg (@SenatorBrophy) February 12, 2020
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville said he wasn’t familiar with the law, but cited Amendment 43, the ban that Colorado passed in 2006 that was law until the Supreme Court’s marriage-equality decision in 2015. “I really don’t know. I think if you take a look at some states like Alabama, they’ve actually taken a different approach of just getting government out of marriage, and maybe that’s the track I would take.”
The other Republicans, including Neville, did support the “Protection of Minors from Mutilation and Sterilization Act,” a ban on gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender youth. The proposal reads, “A health care professional commits unlawful sex reassignment treatment of a minor if the person knowingly administers, dispenses, or prescribes a drug or hormone or orders or performs a surgical procedure for the purpose of facilitating sex reassignment of a minor.” It would have made gender-affirming treatment a class 3 felony.
It was also shot down during the marathon session, across party lines from 6-3.
Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, described the proposals as an attempt to return Colorado to its “hate state” status of the 1990s. “This really aggressive anti-LGBTQ slate is a bit surprising,” he said.
Trans Rep. Brianna Titone, the first out transgender lawmaker in Colorado, told CPR that “You have to trust us. You have to listen. And you have to take us seriously,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker. “We can’t pass bills to force us to live in the closet.”
Other Republican proposals that failed include an attempted ban on abortions after the 22nd week, a requirement for medical professionals to provide care if a child is delivered “alive” during an abortion, and the “Live and Let Live Act” that would allow businesses and religious professionals or groups to refuse service for reasons of sexual orientation or gender identity.