State Representative Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville)
Photo credit: Iowa House Republicans

DES MOINES, Iowa – A religious liberty bill, HF 2130, considered in an Iowa House subcommittee, was considered “too broad” to recommended for passage.

The bill expanded how “bona fide religious purpose” in Iowa law is defined. 

The bill says “bona fide religious purpose” means “any lawful purpose that furthers a sincerely held religious belief, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief, and without regard to the correctness, validity, or plausibility of the religious belief.”

It states that what is considered a “bona fide religious purpose” shall be interpreted broadly and any ambiguities resolved in favor of a bona fide religious institution.

In the past, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has attempted to define what a “bona fide religious purpose” is. State Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, the sponsor of the bill, said they should not dictate what is and what is not that is.

“There was a lawsuit a few years ago where a Des Moines church sued because the Civil Rights Commission was trying to dictate church policies and the commission backed down. This needs to be made clear so that the Civil Rights Commission does not interfere in church policies,” she told Caffeinated Thoughts.

The subcommittee which heard this bill on Tuesday consisted of State Reps. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, Stan Gustafson, R-Cumming, and Mary Lynn Wolfe, D-Clinton.

State Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee who handled this bill, told Caffeinated Thoughts he heard from church leadership that they thought the bill was too broad and could cause problems.

“We need to define this in code, but we are not there yet,” he said.

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