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Focus on the Family Withdraws Religious Freedom Measure in Colorado

Focus on the Family Withdraws Religious Freedom Measure in Colorado

Focus on the Family Senior Executive Tom Minnery said the pro-family organization is withdrawing its ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment in Colorado that would prohibit the state from interfering with the religious freedoms of an organization or person.

"There's a tangled thicket of regulations that make it difficult to negotiate our way through the process," Minnery told The Denver Post. "When you think of a genuine grassroots effort by volunteers, [some rules] are a wet blanket in that process."

The issue Minnery was referencing as a drawback is that anyone can file a civil lawsuit alleging fraud if any information on the petition is incorrect.

The ballot measure would have prohibited governments from directly or indirectly placing a burden on a person or organization by withholding benefits, assessing penalties or excluding a person or group from government programs or facilities.

Additionally, it would mandate that the government must prove it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing on such beliefs.

A number of situations have occurred over the past several years that prompted the introduction of the amendment.

In 1999, parents of slain Columbine High School students were not allowed by school officials to express their sentiments if they were religious in nature, on a memorial wall. Several years later in 2003, Colorado Christian University students were initially denied access to a state grant program because of a statute excluding enrollees of "pervasively sectarian" institutions.

The ballot initiative brought criticism from homosexual groups who said the amendment would give businesses "a license to discriminate" and ignore any law they deemed a burden to religious beliefs.

This isn't the first time Focus has brought the ballot initiative up. They submitted a similar measure in 2010 but also withdrew. Minnery said the group would consider another attempt in 2014.

"Some of our allies have had pressing challenges this year and have stepped back for this cycle," Minnery said.


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