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ADL opposes bills that promote discrimination, threaten religious freedom

  • February 27, 2015

ADL Regional Board Member and past Chair Andrea Shpall speaking with CO Rep. Daniel Kagan, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, after her successful testimony opposing HB 1041


As the 70th Colorado General Assembly nears its half-way mark, the session has been characterized by the volume of bills introduced to dismantle anti-discrimination laws, attack religious freedom, severely limit women’s access to reproductive health care, restrict access to voting and permit tax-payer funded support for private, religious education.  The Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region is closely monitoring all of these bills and has already played a key role in defeating two pieces of problematic legislation.


On February 26, ADL Mountain States Region Board Member and past Chair Andrea Shpall testified against a bill that would have inserted a religious definition of life in state law and banned abortion in Colorado. The bill, House Bill 1041, was defeated in the House Judiciary Committee on a 7-6 vote.


“Colorado voters have three times voted against this proposed personhood measure at the ballot box and we should not let this extreme measure become state law,” Shpall said. “This bill would violate the religious freedom of Coloradans, violate the United States Constitution, provide insufficient exceptions, and result in a litany of harmful, unintended consequences.”

On February 9, ADL Mountain States Region Board member Pamela Hirschman testified against a bill that would have required public universities to recognize and financially support student organizations that discriminate based on religion and other personal characteristics. The bill, House Bill 1037, was defeated in the House Education Committee on a 6-5 vote.


“The issue is not whether student organizations are free to believe and associate as they like. They can. The issue is whether they have a right to be funded to operate in a discriminatory manner. They should not. We do not support taxpayer funded discrimination,” Hirschman said in her testimony.


ADL is working collaboratively with a coalition of civil liberties and religious freedom organizations to oppose House Bill 1161 and House Bill 1171, two right-to-discriminate bills that would let individuals and businesses claim their religious beliefs allow them to refuse to follow laws they don’t like – including domestic violence, public safety, and nondiscrimination laws.


ADL is also monitoring proposed legislation related to:  addressing the school-to-prison pipeline, prohibiting conversion therapy for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, and reforming policies and procedures for police.


For more information on becoming involved as a volunteer legislative liaison on ADL’s priority bills this legislative session, contact Jeremy Shaver, Assistant Director, at