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Colorado's Bible ban faces court challenge

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter

Tim Gill, the secretive Colorado software multi-millionaire and behind-the-scenes “gay” activist who has boasted of his strategy to buy up campaigns for pro-homosexual candidates, soon may be learning he cannot buy the First Amendment.

Gill, whose strategic campaign donations in 2004 largely are credited with turning the GOP majority in the Colorado statehouse into a Democratic bastion and whose work in 2006 helped install Democrat Bill Ritter, a vigorously pro-abortion campaigner, in the governor’s office, has been blamed by Christian organizations for the success of a new Colorado law that bans the Bible in the state.

But the Christian Family Alliance of Colorado and Liberty Counsel are teaming up on a soon-to-be-filed lawsuit expected to highlight the apparent First Amendment violations of SB200, the state law that bans references to homosexuals that could be perceived as “discriminatory” and raises the issue of whether the law applies to the Bible’s label of homosexuality as an “abomination.”

The protection for homosexuals is wrapped up in a “gender” discrimination ban that widely was publicized as the “bathroom bill,” because it also allows adults who say they are a particular sex to use public restrooms designated for that sex, whether their physical characteristics match that sex or not. Such laws also have been adopted locally in Florida and Maryland, too.

But within the bill are the much more drastic provisions addressing the Bible.

“Section 8 of the bill makes it a crime to publish or distribute anything that is deemed a ‘discrimination’ against the homosexual and transsexual lifestyle,” said a statement from the Christian Family Alliance.

Mark Hotaling, executive director for the Alliance, said the work of Gill and his homosexual lobby has been evident since Democrats took the majority position in the state legislature in 2004.

“But this is just so over the top,” he said of the latest attack on biblical values.

He said initially supporters and even some opponents of the bill explained that there was an exception for churches and church organizations. However, lawmakers then attached to the bill a state “safety clause” which is supposed to deal with laws that are fundamental to protecting the lives of residents.

That, he said, simply stripped away any potential allowances for churches and church groups.

“Anyone who claims that there’s an exception for churches really doesn’t know the ins and outs of the bill,” Hotaling told WND.

“So the religious exemption is purely window dressing and very deceptive,” he said. “The Word of God literally now is banned, and that’s a legitimate slam-dunk First Amendment issue there.”

Also a horror is the provision for adults to be provided access to restrooms of their choice, he said.

The law “gives increased access for predators and cross-dressers to go into any bathroom they choose,” he said. “The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says predators prey on children where they have their greatest access.”

What could better suit predators’ purposes than the closed doors of public restrooms, he suggested.

He said his organization is working with Liberty Counsel to document the impact of the law, its provisions and what constitutional authority may be usurped by the state law.

“We’re going to fight this thing,” he said. “We’re very confident that at least some aspects of SB200 will be thrown out, and perhaps the entire bill.”

There have been no reports of prosecutions under the law yet.

“But it will happen,” Hotaling said, “The danger is this legislation is not necessarily an individual complaint, but how it is weaved into the fabric of society. I heard … there are school districts in the state where elementary schools are trying to figure out how to implement unisex bathrooms.”

The most important issue, he believes, is that churches keep preaching the Bible.

“If we’re yelling anything from the rooftops, it’s that pastors and churches should not stop preaching the Word of God and not to temper the Word out of fear,” he said.

Mathew Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, said he’s had staff members researching the law, checking other states for similar provisions and doing other preparation for a lawsuit.

“Colorado is by far the most restrictive,” he said.

Gill, in a report carried by the Christian Broadcasting Network, boasted recently about his strategy to infuse specific campaigns with the money they need to “eliminate the anti-gay state legislators.”

“The Republican Party is controlled by a bunch of bigots, and the only way the bigots are going to learn is if we take their power away from them,” he said in the CBN report.

He also urged donors to be selective in their targeted campaigns.

“Just a little bit of money goes a long way. I’ll tell you that $500 or $1000 in Wyoming goes a lot farther than $500 or $1000 in L.A., where it probably doesn’t even buy a bottle of wine,” he said.

Author Janet Folger at a news conference announcing a campaign to challenge Colorado’s new anti-‘discrimination’ law

Last spring, shortly after Ritter signed SB200 into law, state Rep. Kevin Lundberg told WND it was written with intentional vagueness.

“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,” he said. His comments came in conjunction with a news conference at which a number of groups announced their intention to challenge the law.

Lundberg cited Section 8, which is titled, “Publishing of discriminative matter forbidden.”

Others represented at the news conference were WND columnist and national syndicated talk show host Janet Folger, author of “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; Hotaling and Colorado for Family Values.

WND reported 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.”

The Christian publishing house Focus on the Family has called the law a payback by the Democrat-controlled legislature and Ritter to homosexual activists such as Gill.