Committee votes down bill sponsor said was designed to protect religious freedom

DENVER — House Bill 1206 was voted down in committee Tuesday after several hours of emotional testimony that debated religious freedom versus civil rights for the LGBTQ community.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Weld County, said he wanted to protect people who act on their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.

An example is Jack Phillips, the baker at Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs.

That issue went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and a decision is expected in June.

“Folks of faith are very concerned for their livelihoods, and for their every day lives and the intent is simply to ensure that tolerance is a two-way street,” Humphrey said.

But the same-sex couple involved in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case testified against the bill.

“This bill claims to protect religious freedom but it does no such thing. This bill seeks to create a world that frees anybody from having to interact with or tolerate LGBT people in any meaningful way,” David Mullins said.

He and many others, including clergy members, argued the bill would use religion to justify discrimination.

The bill could have impacted adoption agencies, housing, employment and more.