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Iowa Senate passes ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’



Des Moines, Iowa – A bill that Republicans claim would better safeguard people’s right to religious freedom was passed by the Iowa Senate on Tuesday. However, Democrats claim the bill could permit discrimination. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the name of this law.

Senate Democrats claim that the bill permits discrimination. “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has become a blank check for people to impose their religious beliefs on others and to discriminate against people they don’t like,” said Democratic State Senator Janice Weiner of Iowa City.

Weiner worries that it might have unforeseen repercussions. “A perpetrator of domestic violence would be able to hold up protective order proceedings, divorce and custody proceedings, and criminal proceedings by claiming that they have the right to discipline their family as they see fit under their religion,” Weiner said.

Democrats are overreacting, according to Schleswig state senator Jason Schultz, a Republican. “There anybody here who thinks that an abused child was drug into court crying, and bleeding, and bruised and the lawyer said, ‘well, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act says we can do this. Oh okay, well we’ll talk about this next week. Take your child home and do that some more and come back and hear your defenses’.? No, that didn’t happen!,” Schultz said.

Black Hawk County Democratic state senator Bill Dotzler claims that the state is suffering as a result of culture war measures like RFRA. “We can’t bring people here and worst of all, the Iowans that are going to our universities and college, the young people of this state have had enough. They’re looking elsewhere,” Dotzler said.

However, Sioux Center, Iowa, Republican state senator Jeff Taylor claims that the necessity for RFRA stems from the courts’ recent erosion of religious freedom. “The courts have eaten away at religious freedom nationally and that applies to our state as well. This is a defensive mechanism saying we need to prioritize the First Amendment,” Taylor said.

With the support of all 31 Republicans present and the opposition of all 16 Democrats, the bill was passed by the Iowa Senate.

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