Author Janet Folger at a news conference announcing a campaign to challenge Colorado’s new anti-’discrimination’ law
A lawmaker in Colorado who challenged the authors of SB200, a new law that bans discrimination based on the “perception” of gender, contends it was written to give a wide open door to anyone who wants to banish Christian beliefs or the Bible.
“This is so loaded. It’s written in an open-ended fashion that anybody can take just about any part of it and grow it into a huge monstrosity,” state Rep. Kevin Lundberg told WND today. “It was written with intentional [vagueness].”
He spoke with WND after a news conference at which a number of groups and organizations announced plans to challenge the law. Among those promising to dispute the new limitations on speech and actions was Liberty Counsel, which is reviewing the situation now in preparation for a legal challenge.
“Section 8 of Senate Bill 200 is a wide open door for any judge to censor anything that condemns homosexuality, including Scripture,” Lundberg said at the news conference. Section 8 is headlined, “Publishing of discriminative matter forbidden.”
“I do believe that the Bible is banned, under the plain language of this new statute,” said Steve Crampton, general counsel of Liberty Counsel.
Others represented at the news conference were WND columnist and national syndicated talk show host Janet Folger, who wrote “The Criminalization of Christianity;” Steve Curtis, president of the American Right To Life Action and former chairman of the Colorado GOP; Kevin Swanson of Christian Home Educators of Colorado; Mark Hotaling of Christian Family Alliance and Colorado for Family Values.
Lundberg told WND the statute includes some “very troubling” provisions “that can be used in fairly heavy-handed ways. It goes so far and it goes so broad … the more I read it the more troubled I get.”
He said Section 8, for example, regarding the publication of discriminatory material.
“”When it was on the floor of the house and we were debating it I discounted the overall effect, thinking it applied to the posting of rules for hotels and lodging,” he said. “When I more seriously looked at all the particulars, then it starts to encompass a prohibition on anything of a printed nature that’s distributed or sold or shared for virtually any purpose.”
Curtis told WND that the legal challenge will be launched soon by Liberty Counsel, and participants deliberately violated the law with a display of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, provided by the Denver Tech Center Marriott where the news conference was held at the same time as a pastors’ conference at which former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was a speaker.
“We questioned whether the Marriott Corp. was in violation for distributing [the books] to us,” he said. “We displayed them, which is a violation, we sold Janet Folger’s book, which is a violation. We gave it away, which is a violation.
“We will go ahead and continue to violate [the law],” he said. “Our challenge to the governor is go ahead and issue the citation, arrest us, do whatever you want.”
Lundberg said it’s clear the Bible could be targeted by those using the vague definitions in the law.
“If you’re going to be distributing Scriptures, there are clear passages that someone of a homosexual orientation could easily find offensive,” he said.
He said not only did Colorado lawmakers create an open-ended document, “any court could take it to whatever direction they wanted to take it, and they would have the authority of the statute to fall back onto.”
The lawmaker said there is an exemption for churches, mosques and synagogues in Section 6 of the law, dealing with public accommodations. But that definition is only for Section 6 and doesn’t apply to Section 8, restricting printed material, he said.
And he said the new burden for business owners will force Christians quickly to abandon their principles, or their business.
“When you read all of the particulars, you discover it is much more inclusive of any type of commerce,” he said of the rules. “When I confronted the House sponsor [Rep. Joel Judd] in debate on a photographer who found it morally unacceptable to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony, the answer was, ‘If you choose to do commerce in Colorado you have to abide by these rules.’”
There are two other important factors, he noted, including the law itself which includes not just civil, but criminal penalties of up to a year in jail, for violations. And the other is the fact the legislature included a “safety” clause in the law, specifying that the law is necessary for the safety of the state, which means voters cannot take the law and put it to a vote.
“The reason I consider this to be a big deal … to my knowledge people were going to exercise their rights with a citizens referendum, before [that right] was stripped away from them by the legislature,” he said.
Curtis said his organization, American RTL Action, is a political 527 group headquarter half a block from where the legislature meets.
“We’re not going to hire someone cohabitating outside of marriage,” he said. “We will also violate SB200′s prohibition on publishing certain biblical teachings on homosexuality.”
WND reported earlier that one of the supporters of the bill, Cathryn Hazouri of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the state House Judiciary Committee: “One may practice one’s religion in private; however, once a religious person comes into the public arena, there are limitations in how the expression of their religion impacts others.”
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter
The Christian publishing house Focus on the Family has called it a payback by the Democrat-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter to homosexual activists such as millionaire Tim Gill, who has donated widely to pro-homosexual political candidates.
The Focus analysis of the plan, according to spokesman Bruce Hausknecht, shows that besides the obvious impacts of opening restrooms and locker rooms statewide to members of either sex, depending on a perception of their gender, “the biggest danger this law poses is to the religious or moral consciences of small business owners who may object to doing business with people whose lifestyle they do not want to promote.”
“Who would have believed that the Colorado state legislature and its governor would have made it fully legal for men to enter and use women’s restrooms and locker-room facilities without notice or explanation?” Focus founder James Dobson said. “Henceforth, every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence.”
A WND reader also expressed horror at the implications of the law.
“Now, as I stand outside of a movie theater bathroom or a swimming pool shower room door and guard the most precious thing in my life: my wife and daughter’s safety, modesty and privacy, I can no longer stop a man from entering a woman’s domain,” wrote a concern resident whose name was withheld. “(I will anyway, that’s why I’m a criminal!)”
“An act that once was criminal is now legitimate, and what was taught to me as a virtue is now a vice. Not only am I liable for civil penalties but criminal, as I can be sentenced for up to a year in jail,” he wrote.
“Will SB200 be the end of it? No. Next, hate crime legislation must be passed so that it is illegal for me to write this letter (as it is now illegal in Canada); then enforced homosexual/transsexual indoctrination of our children in the public educational system; finally, all other alternative forms of education must be outlawed. Impossible, you say? It’s already happened in California,” he said. “As I’m being forced into this ‘shotgun wedding’ with the radical homosexual agenda, I hope it’s not too late to ‘speak now, or forever hold my peace.’ What is it called when you are forced, against your will, to participate in a sexual lifestyle that you find objectionable? I believe that is called ‘rape.’ My state legislature has ‘violated’ me and charged me with the crime.”
Tom Minnery, the senior vice president of government and public policy for Focus, said every Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owner now is under a threat.
“We’ve seen … charges brought by homosexuals against a video reproduction business in Virginia, a medical clinic in California, an adoption service in Arizona and a church in New Jersey,” he continued. “Colorado tops them all on the potential outrage meter, however, because in addition to civil fines and penalties, small-business owners can be prosecuted under the criminal laws of Colorado and spend up to one year in jail for trying to live according to their faith.”
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