DENVER – Late last night, the Durango City Council approved a “sit-lie” ordinance that prohibits people from sitting or lying down on downtown sidewalks, curbs and other public areas.
ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley issued the following statement:
“As cost of living has spiked across the state and affordable housing has dwindled, we have seen all sorts of attempts to criminalize homelessness and poverty. So-called “sit-lie” ordinances are among the most absurd and indefensible.
“Sitting is not a crime. It is not a threat to public safety. Of course, the Durango ordinance has nothing to do with public safety. It is intended to give police another tool to harass and remove people from downtown who appear to be homeless.
“People do not lose their right to exist in a public place when they lose a home.
“We firmly believe that laws that directly criminalize existence or indirectly impede the free speech right to peacefully ask for charity in public spaces deserve to be challenged both in the courts and in the court of public opinion.”
The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.