Colorado Freedom of Conscience Protection Act (HB 1180)
This law was last updated on Aug 31, 2017
HB 1180 would prohibit the government from burdening a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability unless the government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest, and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
The bill specifies that exercise of religion includes the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
The amendment states that a person whose religious freedom has been burdened in violation of the amendment may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government, regardless of whether any government entity is a party to the proceeding.
The amendment does allow religious freedom to be raised as a defense in lawsuits between private citizens and therefore differs from the federal RFRA which permits lawsuits only against government entities. Had it passed, this bill would have permitted discrimination against LGBTQ people on the basis of freedom of religion.
Similar to HB 1171, which failed to pass in 2015.