Senate GOP Reels After Civil Rights Commission Miscalculation

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

Marianne Goodland of the former Colorado Statesman reports on the explosive controversy resulting from last week’s vote by Republicans on the powerful Joint Budget Committee against funding for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission–the same commission party to a major case before the U.S. Supreme Court alleging discrimination by a Lakewood cake-baker against a same-sex couple:

The deadlocked vote last week over funding the Colorado Civil Rights Commission continues to draw reaction, as well as a Tuesday rally to defend the agency. Both the Division of Civil Rights and the Civil Rights Commission are up for a sunset review hearing on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., the first step in re-authorizing the agency.

In a story first reported Thursday by Colorado Politics, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) failed to pass a 2018-19 budget for the commission last week with a 3-3 tie vote, split along party lines. For now, that vote means the agency will not be funded as of July 1, 2018.

Reaction to the decision has been swift and angry. Sunday, the Colorado Working Families Party, which backs progressive candidates, issued a statement calling on the Republican members of the JBC to end their efforts to undermine the state civil rights agency.

Goodland directs us to a statement from the Good Business Colorado coalition denouncing last week’s vote, and a rally coming up tomorrow on the Capitol steps:

“The vote to defund the Civil Rights Commission may not seem on its surface to be a business issue — but it truly is because it ensures we have the strong foundation on which we are building the Colorado economy.

“Creating a baseline of respect and dignity for all people is a key component to building Colorado’s economy, one of the strongest in the country. If people don’t feel secure, they can’t work, they can’t spend money, and they can’t support our businesses. The Civil Rights Commission gives our employees, customers, and community the confidence that they can be treated fairly and equally in our state.

“Good Business Colorado urges legislators to quickly repair any harm done to the state’s business reputation by reversing this action to undermine the protection of civil rights.”

The pushback against Senate Republicans over this vote against funding for the civil rights commission appears to have significantly exceeded expectations. Today the Senate GOP released this statement from Senate President Kevin Grantham:

The problem is that nobody is buying this feeble excuse. Two out of three Republican members of the Joint Budget Committee, Sens. Kevin Lundberg and Kent Lambert, are among the most ardently anti-LGBT members of the Colorado General Assembly. Lundberg praised Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis for “abiding by the laws of God” when she went to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Lambert says Colorado’s civil unions law is a “mind-control experiment” to force Coloradans “to believe in homosexual marriage.”

For these and a host of other reasons that everyone knows, the attempt by Senate Republicans to defend this vote against funding for the civil rights commission has fallen entirely flat. It was Kevin Grantham who appointed two of the most homophobic senators in his majority to the JBC. Everybody knows exactly what is going on here and why. If Republicans really didn’t think this puerile attack on the civil rights commission while the commission argues the nation’s biggest LGBT discrimination case before the nation’s highest court wasn’t going to blow up in their faces, they’re more clueless than even we could have imagined.

Because politically, this is just madness. Colorado Republicans who have desperately been trying to turn over a new leaf with tolerant Colorado voters on social issues like LGBT rights have been set back years by this vote. Every day Grantham and company tries to defend their actions only compounds the disaster. So many elections in recent years have punished Colorado Republicans for obsessing with social wedge issues over practical matters, and they just voluntarily saddled themselves with the same baggage once again.

We are honestly surprised this lesson hasn’t been learned. How many more ass-kickings at the polls will it take?

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    I don't think I had heard that Lambert quote before. Fucked up.

  2. ModeratusModeratus says:

    What will you say when the Supreme Court rules in favor of Jack Phillips? Because that's what is going to happen and when it does, you'll be eating crow.

    • Old Time Dem says:

      Is your point that a government body that loses a lawsuit should be shut down?

    • DavieDavie says:

      What will we say?  That the right wing nut jobs are one step closer to imposing Christian sharia law and religious bigotry on the rest of America

    • unnamed says:

      I will say congratulations nutlid. We are closer to your wet dream of evangelical fascism.

    • MADCO says:

      "…say when the Supreme Court rules in favor of Jack Phillips?"

      Shit.
      how could it be possible to discriminate against people even though the Civil Rights Act says it's illegal?

      Oh- cause sexuality is not a named protected class* in the CRA?

      Holy crap- does this mean short people can be dsicriminated against?  I mean.. they're so…. short. Age. Weight. Students. Gender. Foortball players. Football fans.  Dumb. 

      OMG – 34 states can call a Constitutional Convention and rewrite the whole thing.

      Oh… wait…

      Civil Rights Act of 1964
      Race Religion National origin 

      Age (40 and over) – Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
      Sex – Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets 'sex' to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – the Feds, not the one we need to get rid of in Colorado)

      Pregnancy – Pregnancy Discrimination Act
      Citizenship – Immigration Reform and Control Act
      Familial status – Civil Rights Act of 1968 Title VIII: Housing cannot discriminate for having children, with an exception for senior housing
      Disability status – Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
      Veteran status – Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
      Genetic information – Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

      Oh but wait – we can still discriminate against the exceedingly stupid.

       

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Oh Nostradamus, may I remind you of your amazing track record in making predictions about the future. There is Governor Gessler, Senator Keyser, President Rubio, President Cruz, Governor Brachler, and Governor Coffman. I'll admit that when it comes to the Coffman campaign, the fat lady has not yet sung but she is clearing her throat. Best for you to get on the Victor Mitchell bandwagon now.

  3. The realistThe realist says:

    Give Grantham some slack – he's been really busy determining the appropriate penalty for #GOP Senators' sexual misconduct. Oh, wait . . .

  4. Arvadonian1Arvadonian1 says:

    I wonder how closely Amazon is watching this trip back to the 1940's that the Colorado Republican Party is taking us on, given that we are (were) among the finalists for their second headquarters.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      You think they cover Colorado’s nincompoop legislature in Toronto?

      • Arvadonian1Arvadonian1 says:

        Pretty sure they have a legislative affairs division that keeps track of these things….and…From a recent The Hill article on the 20 Amazon finalists and anti-discrimination laws. 

        "'…the company’s request for proposal, to which the 20 finalists responded, includes a requirement for 'a compatible cultural and community environment.'

        'This includes the presence and support of a diverse population,' among other factors".

        Seems like a functioning, funded, and empowered Civil Rights Commission might just be one of the things they are looking for. 

  5. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    What I haven't figured out is why Rep. Bob Rankin voted with the two wing nut senators. Rankin is generally a common sense conservative.

  6. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    These shit-for-brains "conservatives" are taking away the only recourse the working stiff has to fight discrimination.

    I had to go to the Civil Rights Commission to get my hours documented and a reference when my "evangelist Christian" boss wanted to cut my hours and pay when I was pregnant.   (Unless I slept with him) was the undertext of his rather broad hints.

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