House Democratic leader raises concerns about religious liberties bill

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SALT LAKE CITY — The House Minority Leader is raising concerns about a controversial religious liberties bill unveiled on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

In an email sent to all members of the House of Representatives on Monday and later obtained by FOX 13, Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, attached a memo on House Bill 322 that was prepared by legislative lawyers.

“The issue of religious freedom, and how it relates to other Constitutional rights, is an important discussion for us in this session. I think it is critical that we have access to the best information available that sheds light on this issue,” King wrote in the email. “Having been prepared by our legal counsel, the Constitutional memorandum is an important thing for each Representative to be aware of and consider in evaluating HB 322 and other religious liberty bills. However, it is not a public document in the same way that, for example, the fiscal note attached to a bill is a public record. Consequently, I’m attaching a copy of the Constitutional memorandum I received last week.”

The memo said Rep. LaVar Christensen’s HB322 “may raise significant constitutional issues.”

“The proposed act may be subject to challenge in court because it expands religious protections to an extent not currently recognized by the courts, and because it raises potential equal protection questions and other legal issues,” it said. “Consequently, it is impossible to effectively evaluate its constitutionality or its practical effect on the balance between civil rights and the free exercise of religion. Ultimately, the courts, by deciding litigation brought in connection with the act, will determine how the act will apply to individuals and their respective religious and civil rights.”

Read the memo sent to lawmakers here:

HB322 was unveiled last week as lawmakers begin to grapple with bills on LGBT nondiscrimination and religious liberties.

Rep. Christensen has defended his bill as providing a balance. However, other lawmakers have objected to the bill as a “license to discriminate.”

Republican House leadership has said they would like to see one bill that deals with both subjects, Senate Republican leaders are also working on their own bills.

7 comments

  • Dominique Storni (@DominiqueStorni)

    This “Religious Freedom” legislation being proposed all over this great nation, would open a Pandora’s Box NOBODY is prepared for. It is a pity that the few, the pious, the self-righteous are so full of themselves that they think the 1st Amendment protects their right to persecute anyone who doesn’t agree with their religious dogma.

    Be very careful what you ask for. What happens when MY religious beliefs and freedom requires ME to deny YOU housing, employment, and equality? You won’t be able to stop me, any more than I will be able to stop you. This will create divisions and legal fiascoes none of us desire in America, or in Utah.

    May I point my Mormon brothers and sisters to a couple of their Articles of Faith?

    11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

    Nobody is coming for your bibles.
    Nobody is coming for your Books of Mormon.
    Nobody is trying to close down your churches.
    Nobody is trying to tell you what to preach, teach, or believe.

    THAT, my fellow Americans.. is what the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights protects… Your right to worship in the way you choose.

    Your religious freedoms are not at risk or being challenged in any way, shape, or form. Your freedom to beat others over the head with self-righteous condemnation and persecution… IS.

    • bob

      The story includes a link to the actual Bill. Why don’t you step away from your knee-jerk rhetoric for a few minutes and point out exactly which provisions you disagree with?

    • bob

      The Bill says that people engaged in private enterprise cannot be forced by the government to act contrary to their religious beliefs as long as those beliefs don’t result in violations of existing law.

      Got a problem with that?

      • miles (dave)

        bob thanks for your comments here, i dont have the patients to read that bill so i appreciate your educated, and reason based view point.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      You were one of those praising Park City for putting in non-gender specific restrooms for students that are confused about their identity. Talk about a Pandora’s Box NOBODY is prepared for.

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