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Idaho lawmaker withdraws bill that would have allowed discrimination against gays

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

BOISE, Idaho — A lawmaker promoting controversial legislation to allow businesses to refuse service to gay customers based on their religious beliefs says he’ll withdraw the bill, for now.

Idaho state capitol in Boise.

Idaho state capitol in Boise.

Republican Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise says his measure was intended to protect the free exercise of religion, but was misinterpreted to be a “sword for discrimination.”

A previous hearing on his measure lasted nearly four hours and drew hundreds to the Capitol.

Luker says he respects concerns he heard and as a result plans to take more time to work on the bill, which he proposed in the wake of cases in Oregon and New Mexico where gay people who were refused service brought claims against businesses.

On Wednesday, Luker said it’s unlikely his measure would resurface this session.

Last week, lawmakers sidetracked the measure when House Speaker Scott Bedke said it would be better to take a “thoughtful pause” on an issue that’s inflamed the passions of religious conservatives and gay rights activists.

Idaho is one of five states where lawmakers introduced “religious freedom” bills targeting same-sex couples, mostly in response to the rapid advancement of marriage equality.

Similar bills were defeated or withdrawn on Tuesday in South Dakota, Kansas and Tennessee, but a bill in Arizona is still making its way in the state legislature.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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19 more reader comments:

  1. Why are all of these politicians wasting so much precious time and money on this unconstitutional bullcrap! Get over it already. My tax money is just as needed as everyone else’s tax money. Let’s build up thos society and stop those who choose to tear it down!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:35pm
  2. This should of never been discussed to begin with! What a goddamn waste of time and tax dollars!! HATE SUCKS!!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:36pm
  3. You're damn right!

    Replied on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:41pm
  4. COME ELECTION TIME WE ALL NEED TO VOTE THE BIGOTS OUT...VOTERS DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE CHANGE. BUT HOPEFULLY WE WONT HAVE TO VOTE FOR THE LESSER OF THE 2 EVILS AGAIN!

    Replied on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 6:31pm
  5. What’s the matter boys….afraid the feds would have stepped in and ended this permanently? you are all afraid of your own hatred. See, if you pass a law like this you will tip the scales in our favor so quickly we will even be surprised. Hatred is not an American virtue.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:38pm
  6. I suspect they are putting out test balloons to see how bold face discrimination is accepted, finding it isn’t and backing off… Do expect something more insidiously worded in the near future

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:43pm
  7. People are sick and tired of the christian hatred! Shameful! Jesus loves us all!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:51pm
  8. Actually, hatred of those who are different has ALWAYS been an American value. Whites came here and decimated the native population. The Salem “witch” trials, slavery, Jim Crow, segregation (not just blacks), women’s lack of rights and so on. Class warfare has also always been alive and well here.

    The difference is, we have a venue to try to change these ways to something more equitable. And, slowly, those changes get made. Even though every generation has those who are fighting just as hard to go back.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:53pm
  9. three states withdraw discrimination against GLBT people. Because they know it would be immediately challenged, gone to court and got over ruled by the SJC.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:57pm
  10. They already can discriminate against people. There is no law against it.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 6:08pm
  11. He is nothing but a cowardice cunt

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 6:12pm
  12. Jeannie Hetrick – from what I seen and heard for the last 50 some odd years to if my life I find christians in their entirety of history to to EVIL.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 6:15pm
  13. The corrupt bankers of Wall St love this mess.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 6:35pm
  14. NO special rights to discriminate!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7:08pm
  15. Whether or they withdrew it, those that brought it up should be sanctioned.
    Do not give goods or services to those individuals.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7:18pm
  16. That’s because they HATE Different people. We are NOT LDS.. They are Playing GOD…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7:41pm
  17. And another one bites the dust… win.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7:42pm
  18. Good, the fascists are losing as they always will

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 8:14pm
  19. smart move

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 8:16pm