Iowa bill to protect religious beliefs faces opposition from LGBTQ supporters

Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 6:50 AM CST
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LGBTQ supporters say they are against a new bill in the Iowa legislature which would allow some people to deny services based on religion.

The bill would give religious freedom for anyone with a job that requires a state license.

For example, a minister at the courthouse could refuse to marry a same-sex couple, or a doctor could refuse to perform an abortion.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Dennis Guth, of Hancock County, calls this a first amendment issue.

"How is it that we're going to think about taking away their constitutional rights to free speech?" he said. "This is really amounting to government control of your thoughts."

Critics of the bill say it could leave places vulnerable to discrimination. The LGBTQ advocacy group One Iowa says the bill would be a step backward.

"What this really allows people to do is pick and choose what laws they're going to follow based on their religious views, and that is not religious freedom, that's religious discrimination," said One Iowa's Kennan Crowe.

Lawmakers referred the bill to the judiciary committee.

The committee's chair says he is looking forward to stopping the bill.