Lawmaker: Proposed bills would help secure religious freedoms, beliefs

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Rep. Lynn Luker proposes The Freedom of Religion and the Idaho Exercise of Religion bills to secure religious freedoms and beliefs. The State Affairs Committee voted to print the bills Tuesday morning.

Rep. Luker gave the example of the case, Ward vs. Polite. In that case, an Eastern Michigan University psychology student was expelled for exercising her religious beliefs and not counseling a gay client. Rep. Luker said the first bill proposal, Freedom of Religion, would protect people like that student.

The bill proposal protects professionals from having their license either refused or revoked for exercising their religious beliefs.

"we've seen the government come in and dictate who a church should hire," Rep. Luker said.

He said he wants to see the government and courts stop interfering with personal religious beliefs.

The second bill proposal tweeks the religious Freedom Restoration Act to apply not just to cases where the government is a party.

"What this law does is, at least in the state of Idaho, restricts the strict scrutiny standard to anyone that burdens a person's exercise of religion," he said.

He gave the example of a photographer that was fined for refusing to photograph a gay marriage. Because the government was not a party in the case, the photographer was able to be fined.