‘Religious Freedom’ bill wins final legislative approval, heads to governor

DES MOINES — Iowa House Republicans passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last night and sent the bill to Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk.

The bill says state and local regulations can’t restrict people from acting in accordance with their religion unless the government has a compelling interest.

Representative Timi Brown-Powers, a Democrat from Waterloo, says this could allow discrimination against LGBTQ Iowans and others in services like health care.

“What would Jesus do? Not this,” Brown-Powers says. “This bill weaponizes religious belief to justify discrimination.”

Republican Representative Charley Thomson of Charles City says the bill would protect religious freedom in a narrow way. He says it would -not- permit the examples of discrimination being listed by Democrats.

“It doesn’t mean that a religious claimant is going to win,” Thomson says. “It just means that they’re going to get a hearing and a balancing test.”

Governor Kim Reynolds released a statement last night indicating she -will- sign the bill into law.