If you needed some good news this week – here it is.
Many “religious freedom” bills and “bathroom” bills have been cropping up in many state legislatures lately. Proponents argue that these bills are necessary to protect religious beliefs and all people to “peacefully exercise” their faith without diminishing the rights of any other group. Similarly, “bathroom” bills have been proposed as necessary in order to safeguard women and children from potential sexual predators. Opponents of these bills call them out for exactly what they are – laws aiming squarely at the rights of LGBT citizens and codifying discrimination.
Two states that were considering such religious freedom laws are Wyoming and Colorado. In addition to religious freedom, Wyoming House Bill (HB) 135 also sought to define marriage as between “one man and one woman” – in direct opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2015. Thankfully, HB 135 – also known as the Government Non-Discrimination Act – was withdrawn from consideration today.
And in Colorado, a state House panel for a third straight year rejected a Republican-led effort to expand religious freedom protections in Colorado. House Bill 1013 would establish a more rigorous legal test for any law that might be considered a burden to someone’s religious beliefs. Such laws would have to “further a compelling government interest” and be the least restrictive means of pursuing that interest. State law in Colorado already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.