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  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

Remarks of ACLU-CO Exec Dir on Religious Freedom for Student Groups Bill

Prepared Remarks of ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley on CO House Bill 1048, Concerning Religious Freedom for Student Groups at State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Thank you, Madame Chair and members of the Committee. My name is Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado, and I speak in opposition to House Bill 1048.

This bill would force Colorado public universities to recognize and support student groups that discriminate in violation of longstanding university policies.

I want to be clear that the ACLU strongly supports religious freedom, freedom of association, and freedom of speech, and students in colleges and universities are free to hold beliefs, express their opinions, and form groups as they wish. What they do not have the right to do is to get official recognition and public funding for these groups when they violate equal protection or nondiscrimination policies. Public colleges and universities should strive to ensure that educational opportunities are open to all, including student organizations and leadership opportunities.

The Supreme Court made clear in Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez that a university may impose viewpoint-neutral conditions on student groups such as requiring that groups receiving university funds or other privileges be open to all students. This bill essentially seeks to circumvent that ruling. Students are free to believe what they wish, but discriminatory conduct does not have to be supported and recognized. Any mandates on group conduct should be to prevent discrimination, not to allow or promote it.

The bottom line is that state funding of discriminatory organizations is wrong and harmful to students and higher education. Please vote no on HB 1048.



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