Robert Gehrke, HB322 could elevate freedom of religion above other constitutional rights, Salt Lake Tribune

A bid to give sweeping protection to religious liberties ”may raise significant constitutional issues,” and, because it goes further than any other state has, may be susceptible to a court challenge on multiple fronts, according to an analysis by a legislative attorney.

The analysis of Rep. LaVar Christensen’s House Bill 322 says the measure could allow ­— for the first time — people of faith to sue other individuals for imposing on their beliefs, while tipping the scales against the defendant, and could elevate freedom of religion above other constitutionally protected rights.

”The proposed act may be subject to challenge in court because it expands religious protections to an extent not currently recognized by the courts,” wrote legislative attorney Eric Weeks in the memo obtained by The Tribune. ”Consequently, it is impossible to effectively evaluate its constitutionality or its practical effect on the balance between civil rights and the free exercise of religion.”

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