Business’s Right to Discriminate Fails in Republican State Senate

Apr 18th, 2017 | By | Category: Business, Featured

Denver, CO- Breaking ranks, three Republican State Senators voted against SB283, “Clarify Discrimination and Right to Disagree,” which would have allowed businesses to refuse service to customers if doing so would conflict with the business or business owner’s beliefs.

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Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud)

The bill’s synopsis explains that it would no longer be considered discriminatory for a business to refuse service if doing so would “convey a message with which the business chooses not to associate itself or with which the business owner disagrees.”

The bill was an expansion of another failed attempt this session by Republicans to allow businesses the right to refuse service. HB1013 would have allowed businesses to refuse service if doing so would violate religious beliefs. SB283 went further by allowing businesses to refuse service for any message they disagreed with.

Republican legislators across the country have been concerned in recent years about businesses being forced to provide goods and services for same-sex couples and marriages. Freedom-of-conscience bills like SB283 have been introduced 57 times in 37 states, according to State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud), the sponsor of the bill.

Democrats in the Senate voiced their concerns over the message that passing SB283 would send. Business groups lobbied against the bill, worried that its passage would lead to economic fallout that states with similar measures have felt.

Sen. Lois Court (D-Denver) went as far as comparing SB283 to Germans who refused to serve Jews in the 1930s.

All 17 Democrats voted against the bill, and they were joined by Republican Senators Don Coram of Montrose, Beth Martinez Humenik of Thornton and Jack Tate of Centennial.

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