Idaho Lawmaker Introduces Bill That Would Allow Religion-Based Discrimination Against Gays

Idaho Republican Rep. Lynn Luker has introduced a bill in Idaho that would allow religious-based discrimination against gays, Al Jazeera reports:

LukerRepublican Rep. Lynn Luker introduced the legislation, and said the bill is meant to "protect persons holding occupational licenses in the exercise of their religious freedom." The Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses manages certifications for professional boards from social workers to doctors. The bill does not apply to emergency responders and will not prevent Idahoans from being fired if they choose to deny service based on religious reasons. Additionally, it does not authorize the "intentional infliction of emotional or physical injury."

Wrote Luker in a blog post:

With government mandates of all types forcing religiously faithful people to violate the tenants of their faith, including the forced subsidizing of contraceptives and termination of life, interference with faith based counseling, and compelled participation in same gender weddings, concern about refusing such mandates prompted the bill to protect the right to earn a living while staying true to a person’s faith.


  1. gregorybrown says

    “Faith based counseling” must mean “torturing people to induce change in sexual orientation/expression”. I understand that, but what does he mean by “compelled participation in same gender weddings”? Oh–maybe that’s requiring somebody whose job includes issuing licenses to DO the job.

  2. Aggiecowboy says

    I am getting seriously sick of these idiots who think their particular brand of religion trumps all other religions. Freedom of Religion does NOT mean that you can run roughshod over someone else’s religion (or lack thereof).

    One person’s Rights end where they interfere with another person’s Rights.

  3. Bill says

    Well isn’t that special – just spreading all that good old Christian love around. I’m sure this is precisely what The Bible has in mind when it declares “Love they neighbor as thyself.” Sweet. Buncha rank moronic hypocrites.

  4. Bernie says

    OMG! and here I thought, I guess, mistakenly, religion is already protected……..however, these right wingers want “extra” protection and permission to discriminate against the glbt community………this kind of legislation is a total waste and overkill…….the fear/hatred these folks feel for our community is unbelievable…….

  5. SpaceCadet says

    These idiots are just out to appeal to the constituents who voted them in. Hopefully it serves as inventive for everyone else to vote these politicians out.

  6. JackFknTwist says

    The pure ignorance of these fools would be funny if it didn’t have such serious consequences.
    “tenants of their faith ” ha ha ha.@ JJ : you bet !

    We need to call religion exactly what it is; specifically, the Christian religion started out and continued for centuries as a human sacrifice cult.
    The cult of human martyrdom was followed enthusiastically by burning any humans who disagreed with Christianity, …..the Albigensians the Cathars, the Jews in Spain, ……..all human sacrifices to a primitive god or gods, the number of gods is not even agreed.
    Let’s not give any respect to a human sacrificing cabal which has glorified in cruel hatred for centuries.
    We gays are lucky to live now, they would still like to burn us all if they could get away with it.
    Now all they’ve got left is a bill to allow discrimination against us; different consequences, same animus.

  7. woodroad34d says

    Religion is the most powerful right around–they so seriously want their superstition to be paramount, otherwise they would have to think like mature people instead of childish, mean-spirited people who want something to hide behind so that they can continue their bigotry.

  8. Jim says

    Government requires no one to violate his faith because a person’s faith is protected by the 1st amendment. However one person using religion as a reason to discriminate against another person violates FEDERAL law and will land that violator in a world of hurt in federal court where a stupid Idaho state law will be worthless as a defense. Once again Republican Tea Bagger neo-confederates foolishly think they can nullify federal law with state law. Anybody dumb enough to try this is going to face big fines and federal prison.

  9. Charlie says

    So if you have a strongly held religious belief that you deity wants the races to live apart (as Christians at one time maintained) does that mean you can refuse service to African-Americans? If you believe that women’s place is in the home (perhaps wearing burqas) does that mean you can fire or refuse to hire women? I sincerely hope he will clarify this for every one. Religion is used as a justification for all kinds or discrimination.

  10. Jamal49 says

    Religion is culturally transmitted mental illness. It has just enough net social utility to persist, but “religious belief” is just a socially accepted form of insanity.

  11. Chris says

    Amendment I to the Constitution of the United States: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

    Didn’t he take an oath to uphold said Constitution?

  12. Chris says

    Amendment I to the Constitution of the United States: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

    Didn’t he take an oath to uphold said Constitution?

  13. Chris says

    Idaho Constitution

    Section 25. Oath of office. The members of the legislature shall, before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take or subscribe the following oath or affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Idaho,

  14. Chuck Mielke says

    Further, believers need to understand that their bowing and praying and singing and tithing and bible-thumping is guaranteed ONLY to give them special privileges in heaven, not in a secular society like ours.

  15. Frank says

    “…compelled participation in same gender weddings” Once again- you are VENDORS. You are not participants in ANYONE’S weddings. What next – the cashier at Target not selling mixed fabric clothing, or shellfish to customers because of Levitticus? VENDORS sell things to people – even people getting married- they are not invited to, or part of the wedding!

  16. Malcolm says

    Gay rights have or will stall until there are significant concessions to religious objections. We have been frozen for several years with only 21 states with a gay rights law, and ENDA probably will
    Not be passed this decade. Most of the country has no gay rights protections.

  17. Malcolm says

    Some here are saying that it would be an unconstitutional law. I don’t support this bill or others like it, but please explain in detail how it would be unconstitutional. The Constitution exalts and singles out religious liberty as the first and preeminent right. Congress passed the Religious Freedom Act that further makes religious liberty even more expansive. If anything, there are strong indications that the Supreme Court will make religious liberty guarantees even more expansive and broad. Title VII deals with the rights of employees not to be discriminated against because of their religion and to have their faith reasonably accommodated in the workplace, not whether government can further protect religious belief. I just see no legal Basis to say this bill would be unconstitutional.

  18. JJ says

    @Malcolm, first, it’s not a fair characterization to declare the movement stalled–and that the only way forward is to trade in some rights in exchange for other rights–when we know from past civil rights movements that they take decades if not wars. We make concrete progress on a regular basis and it’s accelerating. Each advance impacts those areas that have yet to advance and they too will succumb. Idaho, for example, is in the 9th Circuit, which just ruled that states bear the burden of justifying any sexual orientation discrimination. Assuming the ruling survives appeal, this is a huge shift that means the movement can advance in Idaho through the courts without dealing a huge setback to anyone–not just LGBTs–who might find themselves on the receiving end of religious bigotry. The dominos are falling and Idaho will be no exception.

    Secondly, the burden of proof is currently on religious bigots to show how anti-discrimination laws that apply equally to people of all beliefs improperly infringe on religious freedom. Conceding that burden of proof would be counter-productive–a generational setback to achieve a near-term win.

    As to the constitutionality of religious exemptions, I’m not a lawyer, but I suspect that the right to opt out of laws that apply to everyone else violates Equal Protection (some people can ignore the law), Due Process (arbitrarily and without recourse), and the Establishment Clause (by asserting the supremacy of their religion over the law). Further, if the legislature says that any laws that protect LGBTs will be optional, it renders meaningless the right of LGBTs to petition the government for the redress of grievances. It allows the state to achieve the same result as Colorado’s Amendment 2 (struck down in Romer v. Evans) by abdicating its authority enforce the law.

  19. Bill says

    OK. Suppose Luker comes down with a painful terminal illness and (as a hypothetical physician treating him), my religious beliefs, based on the Book of Armaments (See Monte Python and the Holy Grail), is that “For yea, it is an abomination unto the Lord for the life of any homophobe to be cut short.” So, we keep Luker on life support and don’t give him any pain medication as the side effects might cut his lifespan ever so slightly. Sounds like a plan. Is that what his legislation allows? Just curious.

  20. simon says

    Religious liberty and religious intolerance are obviously two different things. Religious liberty doesn’t mean a Christian can cut the head off from a Muslim or vice versa.

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