House Bill 1108 passes, includes gender identity and discretion into state discriminatory act
By Steven Bonifazi
(DENVER, Colo.) Colorado measure House Bill 1108 passed Tuesday, prohibiting discrimination against gender identity in employment, housing, financial services, health care, funeral arrangements, access to and participation in public services, education, youth services, criminal justice and transportation.
The bill clarifies which individuals are included in a protected class, amending the definition of "sexual orientation" and adding definitions for terms "gender expression" as well as "gender identity", adding both terms to statutes that prohibit discrimination against members of a protected class.
The bill was initially passed out of the House of Representatives on April 1 with a 41-22 vote and later passed by Colorado's Senate Judiciary Committee on April 21 with a 3-2 vote. It then went to the Senate where it was passed on April 27 with a 24-11 vote and sent to the Governor for consideration, The Colorado Sun reports.
Furthermore, the bill defines "gender expression" as a person's way of expressing gender to the world around them in the form of appearance, dress and behavior. It defines "gender identity" as a person's sense of their own gender which can or cannot correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth.
While many LGBTQ advocate groups say this bill is a win for Coloradans, they still feel the need to focus on the Equality Act so that all within the LGBTQ community nationwide are protected. Nevertheless, the bill would not have been made possible without the efforts of LGBTQ backers such as the local non-profit advocacy organization, One Colorado, which works every day to further equal opportunities, rights and status for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families.
The non-profit held an LGBTQ vaccine clinic Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Center on Colfax, a community center for the LGBTQ community. On August 7, they will also be hosting their 16th annual pink party at the EXDO event center to celebrate the work they have done in the LGBTQ community and come together as a whole to elect pro-equality political candidates in the state.
Further, One Colorado worked with Majority Leader Esgar and Senator Moreno for two years from when the bill was being developed to the final passage of the legislation. During the legislative session, the organization engaged in supporting the bill through their statewide membership base consisting of roughly 100,000 supporters, providing technical support and background knowledge on the legislation.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Dominick Moreno and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar.
The bill will be signed Thursday at 11:15 a.m. by Gov. Jared Polis at his office at 200 E. Colfax ave.
The signing will be live-streamed on Gov. Polis's Facebook page.