Michigan House Approves Religious ‘License To Discriminate Against Gays’ Bill

The Michigan House of Representatives has just passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would allow anyone to refuse service to anyone and claim their “religious beliefs” require them to discriminate.

Supporters say the bill is intended to limit government laws that may burden an individual’s free exercise of religion but opponents fear the bill will allow rampant discrimination under the guise of religious observance.

According to NCRM:

For example, under the Religious Freedom law, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control, or HIV medication. An emergency room physician or EMT could refuse service to a gay person in need of immediate treatment. A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple, and a DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver’s license to a person who is divorced.

Michigan Speaker Bolger fast-tracked the bill, which passed on partisan lines, 59-50. It now heads to the Michigan Senate, and if successful, to Republican Governor Rick Snyder. It is not known if Gov. Snyder would sign it.

“I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” Bolger said today. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.”

MLive adds:

An ACLU of Michigan attorney told MLive the RFRA could allow a landlord who was forced to rent to a single mother to sue their city on religious grounds. In a separate briefing, the ACLU said RFRAs in other states have been cited by pharmacists who refused to dispense birth control.

“I should not be forced to follow the religion of my pharmacist,” state Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, said in a floor speech prior to the vote.

Future Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, spoke in support of the religious freedom proposal, arguing that opponents were using scare stories to “incite fear.” Case law suggests far-fetched suits against government laws would not survive in court, he said.

“The ability to bring a case is a right that we all enjoy,” Cotter said. “But there is a difference between filing a case and winning a case.”

Also Thursday, the House approved a Republican-backed “conscience protections” package, ensuring that faith based adoption agencies will not be required to perform adoptions if they have religious objections.