Gov. To Sign Colorado Gay Rights Bill by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Denver, Colorado) Legislation making it illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sexuality has been sent to the desk of Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. The governor has already said he will put his name to the bill.
The measure passed its final hurdle Thursday when the Senate approved amendments to a House version of the legislation.
Sen. Jennifer Veiga (D) has been trying for more than a decade to have a civil rights bill enacted. Measures she proposed were passed by the legislature in 2005 and 2006 but vetoed by Republican Gov. Bill Owens.
Colorado law already bars discrimination in hiring, firing or in demotions or promotions based on race, age or disability. Republicans attempted to weaken the new bid to pass the legislation by proposing a long list of categories to be covered. All of the amendments were defeated.
Some of those proposed amendment sparked heated debate when the bill was before the House last month.
Rep. Ray Rose (R) proposed an amendment that would bar discrimination based on weight, body shape, height, hair and eye color. Fellow Republican Marsha Looper stood up and mockingly said that she frequently is subject of blonde jokes.
Denver Democrat Terrance Carroll, who is African American left to the floor accusing Republicans of trivializing discrimination against minorities.
Two more Republicans came to Looper’s defense.
Rep. Bob Gardner said it was Carroll who was being trivial. He said studies have shown that tall people are more likely to get jobs, and Rep. Debbie Stafford claimed that obese people are less likely to get hired.
“There’s never been anyone lynched because of their height in this nation,” Carroll shot back.
When Ritter signs the bill into law, Colorado will become the twentieth U.S. state to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the twelfth to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
“We are very proud and pleased in Colorado that after a decade of hard work, patience, and education, we join the ranks of states which give basic employment rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people,” said Michael Brewer, a spokesperson for Equal Rights Colorado.
The Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign also praised the passage of the bill.
“Legislators in Colorado have taken historic action to advance the cause of equality for all Coloradans,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
“Once this bill is signed into law, Colorado will be a freer and fairer place for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.”