NEW: Gays Against Groomers sues Colorado over 'Tiara's Law' allowing trans felons to change their names

"In an egregious display of censorship, Colorado legislators shamefully stifled our speech during our testimony on several trans bills."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Gays Against Groomers and the Rocky Mountain Women’s Network have filed a lawsuit against numerous Colorado lawmakers over their actions to "suppress and chill speech during public comment time" over a law dubbed "Tiara’s Law."

The Institute for Free Speech, representing the groups, filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Colorado, naming Colorado state Reps Lorena Garcia, Mike Weissman, and Leslie Herod, as well as State Senators Julie Gonzales and Dafna Michaelson Jenet.

The law, which was passed on Wednesday, allows individuals convicted of felonies to change their names for what can be proven to be a "good cause." It was named after Tiara Kelley, a drag queen, sex worker, and trans person who is a convicted felon.

"In an egregious display of censorship, Colorado legislators shamefully stifled our speech during our testimony on several trans bills. This blatant attempt to quell dissenting voices is not only undemocratic but also deeply offensive to the principles of free speech and equality. We refuse to be silenced and look forward to seeing them in federal court," Gays Against Groomers president Jaimee Michell told The Post Millennial.

The Institute for Free Speech said that during a public hearing of the bill, legislative sponsors of the bill "used viewpoint-based speech restrictions to silence and chill the speech of plaintiffs Dr. Rich Guggenheim of the organization Gays Against Groomers and Christina Goeke of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Network."

When they attempted to speak out against the bill, "they were repeatedly interrupted before the defendants cut short their testimony."

According to the suit, Jenet announced that witnesses for the hearing should not use "derogatory language," "misgender," "deadname," or "disparage" those present for the hearing.

When Goeke spoke out against the bill, she attempted to use "Tiara’s" former name, Duane Antonio Kelley. Goeke "attempted to state her opinion that Mr. Duane Powell was impersonating a woman and had appropriated a female name."

Garcia repeatedly interrupted Goeke, and "gaveled over Goeke’s speech and stole Goeke’s time as soon as Goeke dissented from trans ideology by saying 'Mr. Duane Powell.'"

"Significant portions of Ms. Goeke’s speech were erased from the official audio record of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing," the lawsuit notes.

"Guggenheim was not allowed to complete his testimony and Chair Garcia stole at least 56 seconds of his time to speak against the bill," the document added.

"Plaintiffs Goeke and Guggenheim both want to continue to testify truthfully about trans issues, including making public comments at legislative hearings. Plaintiffs expect that Defendants will continue to censor them during testimony, interrupt them, steal their testimony time, and require that they express fealty to trans ideology."
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