Don’t promote discrimination by allowing businesses to deny access to normally offered goods and services based on one individual’s religious beliefs. Support economic equality: Kill House Bill 426.
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Idaho House Bill 426 from the 2014 legislative session promotes discrimination. The bill allows individuals with professional and occupational licenses, certificates, and registrations to deny normally provided goods and services to people based on religious beliefs and practices.
This bill protects licensed professionals who refuse to provide any service that goes against their religious beliefs. The only occupations excluded from this are those providing emergency services for public safety.
It allows them to refuse taking any oath or affirm any statement that goes against their religious beliefs, but is a normal part of the occupation. This is not just refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Most disconcerting is that any business decision made, including but not limited to hiring decisions, selecting clients they will provide goods and services to, and financial decisions can be based off of what one person claims to hold as a sincere religious belief or practice.
The only part of this bill that even comes close to being acceptable is that religious professionals will be allowed to perform faith-based services without the threat of having their license revoked, and that they are allowed to make a profession of faith.
The wording of the bill, as it stands, is far too broad and too vague. If this bill is passed, it opens the door for our elected representatives to introduce more legislation that allows anyone acting in a business capacity to deny goods and services to anyone based on a religious belief or practice.
Licensure is not a right, it is a privilege to be earned, and that privilege that comes with the responsibility of treating other people like people. Freedom of religious exercise protects private citizens from government persecution. It does not give professionals license to discriminate against fellow humans in a business setting based on their privately-held religious beliefs.
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