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Resolution designating 'Religious Freedom Day' passes House

A resolution designating Jan. 16 as "Religious Freedom Day" in Utah was approved 72-0 Tuesday by the House.
A resolution designating Jan. 16 as "Religious Freedom Day" in Utah was approved 72-0 Tuesday by the House.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A resolution designating Jan. 16 "Religious Freedom Day" in Utah was approved 72-0 Tuesday by the House.

House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, the sponsor of HCR2, said recognizing the day is especially important in a year when lawmakers are discussing religious liberty and anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Utahns.

The resolution urges Utahns "to remember and honor the nation's first religious freedom law," the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom written by Thomas Jefferson to protect the rights of individuals to choose "what they will or will not believe."

It was amended in committee to include references to the Utah Constitution, including the statement that "perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed."

Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, said while it is "appropriate that we pause and reflect" on religious freedom, lawmakers also need to put into statute protections for religious freedom.

Christensen is sponsoring HB322, which would add religious liberty provisions to the state's anti-discrimination and fair housing laws, and state that the lawful exercise of religious liberty is a recognized defense to claims of discrimination.

— Lisa Riley Roche

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsPolitics