Pro-discrimination bill introduced in Iowa House
A homophobic bill introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives on Feb. 7 would allow "a religious corporation, association, educational institution, society, charity, or fraternal organization, or an individual employed by such an entity while acting in the scope of employment" to deny "services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage (if providing them) would cause such entity to violate the sincerely held religious beliefs to which the entity subscribes or such individual to violate the individual's sincerely held religious beliefs."
Iowa is one of five states where same-sex marriage is legal.
The "Religious Conscience Protection Act" (House Study Bill 50) also permits any individual, sole proprietor or small business to refuse to do "any of the following if doing so would cause the individual or sole proprietor to violate the individual's or sole proprietor's sincerely held religious beliefs or the small business to violate the sincerely held religious beliefs to which the small business subscribes."
* "Provide goods or services that assist or promote the solemnization or celebration of a marriage, or provide counseling or other services that directly facilitate the perpetuation of a marriage."
* "Provide benefits to the spouse of an employee."
* "Provide housing to a married couple."
* "Provide adoption or reproductive services."
Even government employees would be permitted to withhold services as long as another employee or official is "promptly available and willing to provide the requested service without inconvenience or delay."
But in the case of a "judicial officer authorized to solemnize marriage," he or she can refuse to do so even if no other officer is available.
The bill defines a small business as one where the services are primarily performed by the owner, one that has no more than five employees, or one that rents housing but has no more than five units.