A powerful Washington state senator wants to change state law to permit businesses openly to discriminate against customers based upon their religion's dogma. State Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, Chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, has drafted legislation that would prevent the state from impeding citizens’ “ability to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by one’s seriously held religious belief.” The broadly worded legislation allows persons claiming to be exercising their religion to sue officials and trump laws that interfere with their religious practices.
The legislation appears to be a direct response to the recent consumer protection lawsuit by the state attorney general against a Richland florist who refused, based on her religion, to sell flowers to a gay couple for ther wedding. The state consumer protection act bars businesses from discriminating against persons based upon their sexual orientation.
A Sept. 13, 2013, news article from The Olympian newspaper is available here.
A copy of the draft legislation is attached to this post.