Few things undermine trust like a condescending lie, which is what some state Republicans are peddling in the unexpected controversy over “saving” the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
Somehow, a roiling controversy resulted in a Democratic-led protest on the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday in a supposed effort to keep Republicans in the Legislature from shutting down the state’s civil rights division.
You need to know right now that the chances of this happening are practically none. Despite a great deal of hand-wringing, there are many ways Democrats, and allies from the dwindling sensible wing of the Colorado GOP, could prevent the demise of the state’s civil rights agency.
But you also need to know that the state GOP went all Kellyanne Conway at the Capitol last week when members of the General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee — the obscure money appropriations people — unexpectedly and inadvisibly decided to withhold funding for the decades-old civil0rights arm of Colorado’s government.
What JBC and other Republicans said was that there’s nothing nefarious at work here. It’s just that the state Civil Rights Commission is up for its regular “sunset” review, and that the move to “postpone” funding for it was simply a pragmatic budgeting procedure. They said they wanted to wait and see how the sunset review turns out later this year.
The story set off an instant nuclear uproar among Dems, who saw the explanation for what it was, bull.
Republicans on the JBC and elsewhere were immediately outed on the lie by social media posts, where prominent Republicans point out that the state civil rights arm has been the cause of great conservative consternation. It’s the same civil rights agency that sided with two gay men taking on a now infamous Lakewood cake baker who said in 2012 that baking wedding cakes for homosexuals violated his religious sensibilities.
The ludicrous GOP explanation was just like the Grinch being busted stealing a Christmas tree in Whoville when he gets busted by Cindy-Lou Who.
“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Santy Claus lied. “There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side. So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear. I’ll fix it up there. Then I’ll bring it back here.”
Dems aren’t buying the Cindy-Lou Who stuff and going back to bed, and you shouldn’t either.
They know that a host of Colorado Republicans would voluntarily have one or more appendages removed if they could get rid of the pesky civil rights officials and laws that make them and theirs treat women, gays, minorities and those with disabilities just like they do male white folk.
After almost 250 years of “all” people being “created equal” stuff, there are plenty of folks out there who either just can’t grasp that or they just can’t stand it.
This Grinchy Claus angst simmers over things like having to pay women the same as men, being forced to give them equal shots at jobs, and not being able to profile Mexicans and or blacks. But what pushed these civil-rights-critics into a three-alarm fire was having the state civil rights division demand that homophobic Lakewood wedding cake baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop bake Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins a damned cake and take sensitivity training to see the error of his ways.
The hell, they say.
And so that argument now sits in the Supreme Court. These civil-wrongs Republicans argue until they’re breathless that wedding cake bakers are artists, and they can’t be ordered around by any gay guys to treat them equally because Jesus tells them so. He, and many of these noisy Colorado Republican leaders insist that having to treat gay Coloradans like everybody else prevents them from freely practicing their religion.
Give it a rest. There are reams of court cases dating back to the beginning where courts have pointed out there is no Republican Sharia Law in America. This is not a theocracy, like it is in Iran. The Christian god does not have legal precedence over the Muslim or Buddhist deities here in America.
If Phillips and others want to continue to believe that Jesus will think less of them if he sells a cake to two guys, whatever. But unlike in Saudi Arabia, this government will not allow anyone’s religion to usurp anyone else’s civil rights.
Equal means equal, even for gays and blacks.
And that’s what the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has demanded since the 1950s.
Republicans have every right and expectation to discuss the role, mission and approach of the commission during the review process. And politics is a rough sport. If Republicans think it’s politically wise or practical to try and undermine the commission by diddling with a funding question in the JBS, go for it.
But don’t lie to Coloradans like the busted civil rights Grinches you are, patting our hands and telling us you’ll be right back with a proper fix to this niggling civil rights thing. Be honest about what you’re doing, and prepare to take the consequences.
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