COLORADO FREEDOM INSTITUTE

News

 

Colorado Freedom Institute President Michael Norton, left, poses with Uncle Sam, center, and Richard Harris, coordinator of the practical government school of Charis Bible College, in Woodland Park, Colorado. Mr. Norton spoke to students at the college Feb. 21-24. on the First Amendment free speech and religion clauses.

Colorado Freedom Institute President Michael Norton, left, poses with Uncle Sam, center, and Richard Harris, coordinator of the practical government school of Charis Bible College, in Woodland Park, Colorado. Mr. Norton spoke to students at the college Feb. 21-24. on the First Amendment free speech and religion clauses.

May 9, 2017

President Norton's Testimony to Colorado Legislature in Opposition to HB-17-1368

March 22, 2017

President Norton's Testimony to Colorado Legislature on House Bill 17-1156

     Colorado Family Action: The Truth about Conversion Therapy

February 15, 2017

President Norton's Testimony to Colorado Legislature on House Bill 17-1099

December 28, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute filed its opening brief in the Colorado Supreme Court in Jane E. Norton v. Governor John Hickenlooper. Mrs. Norton defunded Planned Parenthood in 2002 because it was in violation of the Colorado Constitution, Article V, Section 50, which bars the use of state taxpayer funds to pay, directly or indirectly, for the performance of an induced abortion. Though Planned Parenthood and its abortion affiliate use the same building, the same medical and administrative personnel, the same medical equipment and supplies, Planned Parenthood’s abortion affiliate does not reimburse Planned Parenthood fair market value for these assets. In about 2007, Governor Bill Ritter, without any legal authority, restored taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood. Current Governor Hickenlooper has continued that funding policy.

November 2, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute files friend of the court brief in support of Erika Galindo whose nearly nine-month unborn baby died as a result of the alleged medical malpractice of Valley View Hospital, Glenwood Springs, CO. Mrs. Galindo’s complaint was dismissed by the trial court on grounds that an unborn child is not a “person” under Colorado’s wrongful death and survival statutes. This decision, an issue that has never before been decided in Colorado, was appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals. The Colorado Freedom Institute amicus brief on behalf of Colorado Family Action argues that the trial court judge misstated the historical English and American common law holdings that a viable unborn child is a person.

September 12, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute presents paper and presentation entitled “Religious Liberty Update” to Colorado Christian University

April 20, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute testifies to U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Infant Lives regarding the criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood for trafficking for profit in the sale of body parts of aborted unborn babies

April 18, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute presents a paper and presentation entitled “Doctor-Prescribed Death” to Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute

April 7, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute testifies in support of Women’s Health Protection Act

April 4, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute testifies in favor of legislation to give the Colorado Attorney General authority to investigate and prosecute sale of body parts of aborted unborn babies for profit

March 16, 2016
Colorado Freedom Institute testifies in favor of bill to protect religious freedoms of all Coloradans

March 10, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute presented a status of religious freedom presentation to the Colorado Family Action Religious Freedom conference

March 3, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute testifies in opposition to ban on conversion therapy

February 6, 2016

Colorado Freedom Institute testifies in opposition to legislation authorizing physician assisted suicide

January 28, 2015

Colorado Freedom Institute presented a paper and presentation entitled “Do's and Dont's for Christian Entrepreneurs” to the Colorado Christian University Entrepreneur Class

December 2015
Michael Norton testifies to Senate Committee investigating Planned Parenthood

News Releases

COLORADO FREEDOM INSTITUTE

NEWS RELEASE

March 16, 2016

Contact: Michael J. Norton – Colorado Freedom Institute at: mjnorton@coloradofreedom.org

CFI President Norton Urges Colorado House to Protect Religious Liberty for All Coloradans
                                                                                  
DENVER -- Michael J. Norton, president and general counsel of the Colorado Freedom Institute, today urged the Colorado House of Representatives to protect religious freedom for all Coloradoans by passing House Bill 16-1180.

On behalf of the Colorado Freedom Institute and Colorado Family Action, Norton said, “Similar to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), House Bill 16-1180 provides that no state action may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion … unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling interest.”

Former President Bill Clinton signed the federal RFRA into law in 1993, stating: “[T]his law basically says that the government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s freedom of religion.”

In his testimony to the House, Norton said, “Colorado should have its own RFRA; House Bill 16-1180 would do just that. House Bill 16-1180 is essentially identical to the federal RFRA. It does not add new terms or definitions to those contained in the federal RFRA.”

Furthermore, Norton stated: “While House Bill 16-1180 protects religious freedom, it is critical to recognize what House Bill 16-1180 does not do. House Bill 16-1180 does not create any new or additional rights for any religious activity or for people of faith. It does not create a ‘religion’ trump card. It merely confirms that, in Colorado — as is true across the country at the federal level, and in at least 21 other states and Washington, D.C. -- we have unequivocally restored the heightened standard of review for religious liberty claims that have served our nation well for so many years. That standard requires a court to weigh legitimate free exercise claims against compelling governmental interests. There are no pre-determined outcomes. It does not mean that religious exercise always wins, it simply means that religious exercise claims will receive a fair hearing in court.

“Although the federal RFRA was intended to apply to both federal government action and to state action, the United States Supreme Court subsequently held that Congress did not have the constitutional authority to impose the federal RFRA on the States. While the constitutionality of RFRA as applied to the federal government is well-settled, the level of protection afforded to religious freedom in the State of Colorado and in other states was left uncertain.”

In response to this uncertainty, 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation similar to House Bill 16-1180 in order to ensure adequate protection of religious liberty to their citizens. Additionally, many other states have ensured this same protection for these liberties through judicial opinions. Consequently, this standard applies throughout the majority of the country, but not in Colorado.

Norton concluded his remarks to House members:

“This country was founded on sacred and fundamental principles, including religious freedom. A failure to protect that fundamental principle is an assault on the very foundation of our nation and our state. House Bill 16-1180 is well-conceived and is drafted pursuant to sound constitutional authorities and principles. It also represents the state’s best tradition in its commitment to religious liberty for all Coloradans. On behalf of Colorado Family Action, I urge you to support HB16-1180.”

House Bill 16-1180 is co-sponsored by 23 members of the House and three members of the Senate.

The Colorado Freedom Institute is a nonprofit legal defense organization that focuses on the protection and promotion of religious freedom – the freedom protected by our first liberty in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Colorado Freedom Institute also promotes and defends the sanctity of life and traditional marriage and the family.

 

COLORADO FREEDOM INSTITUTE

NEWS RELEASE

March 8, 2016

Contact: Michael J. Norton – Colorado Freedom Institute at:| mjnorton@coloradofreedom.org

Colorado Freedom Institute’s President Norton Urges Colorado House to Uphold Liberty, Defeat Anti-Reparative Therapy Bill

DENVER – Colorado Freedom Institute President and General Counsel Michael J. Norton testified today in the Colorado House of Representatives against a bill aimed at prohibiting conversion therapy (House Bill 16-1210). He urged the House to vote against the bill because it is unconstitutional and restricts individual freedom.

HB 16-1210, introduced by Rep. Paul Rosenthal (Dem-Denver), characterizes reparative therapy as "conversion therapy" and defines it as an effort to seek to change an individual's sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors, gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

On behalf of the Colorado Freedom Institute and Colorado Family Action, Norton said:

“HB 16-1210 would, if enacted, prohibit a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry or a licensed or registered mental health care provider from engaging in reparative therapy with a patient under 18 years of age. A licensed medical professional who engaged in reparative therapy, even at the request of the parents of the minor child, would be subject to disciplinary action by the medical professional’s licensing authority.

“Such a prohibition would interfere with the personal liberty interests of parents and children and their right to obtain the counseling they believe is best for them. It would also infringe constitutionally protected free speech and free exercise rights of these parents and their children. 

“Every patient should be free to choose the therapy that the patient or, in the case of minors, the patient’s parents, believe will best help the patient accomplish their therapeutic goals. HB 16-1210 would restrict this freedom by interfering with minor patients and their parents’ right to choose preferred reparative therapy and its therapeutic goals.”

Additionally, Norton said it is demonstrable that sexual orientation change efforts help some patients reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attraction, as those patients desire. He stated there is no evidence reparative therapy is harmful, but much evidence exists about successful outcomes for people experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction. 

Norton cited research by Dr. Nicholas Cummings, former president of the American Psychological Association and chief psychologist for the Kaiser Permanente health system, as evidence that reparative therapy has benefited patients.

In his concluding remarks, Norton said:

“HB 16-1210 is likely unconstitutional because it engages in viewpoint discrimination, it is an impermissible content-based speech regulation, and it impermissibly burdens free exercise of religion. It also interferes with the liberty interest of patients and their parents to choose the therapy that they believe is best for their children and which furthers their therapeutic goals. 

“HB 16-1210 seeks to advance a political agenda, not good science. We oppose HB 16-1210 and urge its defeat.”

 

The Colorado Freedom Institute is a nonprofit legal defense organization that focuses on the protection and promotion of religious freedom – the freedom protected by our first liberty in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Colorado Freedom Institute also promotes and defends the sanctity of life and traditional marriage and the family.