Coalition for Equal Rights
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Coalition for Equal Rights is a front group in the Denver, Colorado area formed to fight the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, the law that ended smoking in most workplaces and public places in Colorado (including bars and restaurants) as of July 1, 2006.
Zack Ford, listed as the Coalition's Membership Director on the "Contact" page of the coalition's web site, www.stopthebans.com, was a registered professional lobbyist with the state of Colorado whose firm, Ford Sovine & Ford, also represented the Colorado Licensed Beverage Associationwww.stopthebans.com gives the reader no hint of its relationship to tobacco companies. This is most likely because it did not have any relationship to tobacco companies.
The Coalition for Equal Rights filed a lawsuit to overturn the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, claiming that by exempting certain establishments (like casinos, cigar bars and the smoking lounges at the Denver International Airport) it violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But in October 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that "the exemptions are not irrational or unfair, and that it is within the rights of lawmakers to make them, based on the economic impact of banning smoking in those establishments."
NOTE: The "Coalition for Equal Rights" web site could not be found after this article was posted on SourceWatch, but a page linking the Coalition to the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, can be seen at the Internet Archive