Funding for Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission and the Division of Civil Rights is uncertain following a vote in the legislature on Thursday February 8th. The Joint Budget Committee deadlocked in a 3-3 vote, effectively shutting off funding to the agencies starting in July 2018.
The civil rights division is up for a review every 9 years to determine whether to extend or make changes to the program. After the bipartisan joint budget committee deadlocked on funding with the Republicans voting no – Democrats and civil rights activists were up in arms.
On Tuesday February 13th Democrats at the State House were joined by LGBT advocacy groups and other civil liberties organizations in calling for the JBC to fund the Civil Rights Commission and the Division of Civil Rights.
One of the groups organizing the rally is One Colorado. Daniel Ramos, the Executive Director of the state-wide LGBT advocacy group, told KGNU’s Emma Gibson that the Colorado Civil Rights Division is charged with investigating claims of discrimination in areas of housing, employment and public accommodation. “The division itself is set up to handle claims of discrimination and investigate them and remedy them appropriately for many protected classes in Colorado including folks who experience discrimination on the basis of their race, their religion, their sexual orientation and of course their gender identity.”
The commission sided with a gay couple when handling the Masterpiece cake shop case that is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. That case is about a clash between religious freedom and LGBT rights.