Thursday, February 19, 2015
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director at [email protected]

DENVER: With a hearing set for Monday on legislation from controversial far-right Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt in the Colorado House of Representatives to sanction discrimination by any business, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on the House State Affairs Committee to swiftly reject House Bill 15-1161.

“We knew that Rep. Klingenschmitt would bring bad ideas to the General Assembly,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “But even knowing what Klingenschmitt is capable of, his ‘Right to Discriminate Act’ is a shockingly terrible proposal. This legislation is so broadly written that it could allow Colorado businesses to discriminate against customers for trivial reasons–or even no reason at all. This bill seems to be an attack on Colorado’s LGBT community, which makes sense given Rep. Klingenschmitt’s belief that only those who agree with his moral views should receive ‘government rewards’ like equal rights. But the language is so poorly written that it invites discrimination against practically anyone.”

“Americans already enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion,” said Runyon-Harms, “and ending discrimination in places of public accommodation, which includes businesses offering goods and services to the public, is the best way to uphold that freedom for everyone. Fortunately, most businesses do not discriminate and serve every customer equally.”

“Freedom is not a license to discriminate,” said Runyon-Harms, “Rep. Klingenschmitt is proving again why he has no business serving in the Colorado legislature. If Klingenschmitt insists on embarrassing his party and the body he was elected to serve, then it’s up to Republican leaders in the House like Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso to rein Klingenschmitt in. If they won’t, then Klingenschmitt rightly becomes the face of the Republican Party in Colorado.”