Washington Protection of the Rights of Religious Exercise and Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1178)
This law was last updated on Aug 27, 2018
HB 1178 would create government protections for “sincerely held” religious beliefs or moral convictions for people, religious organizations, and private associations. The bill would allow public and private businesses to legally refuse services, or use of facilities, to LGBTQ people based on the owner’s religious belief.
HB 1178 states that the sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that:
- Marriage is or should only be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
- Sexual relations are properly reserved to marriage; or
- Male (man) and female (woman) refer to an individual’s and immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics by the time of birth.
The bill specifies what a discriminatory or adverse action means when taken by the state against such a person.
The bill provides that a person may assert an actual or threatened violation of the bill as a cause of action in any judicial or administrative proceeding and obtain compensatory damages, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, or any other appropriate relief.
Reproductive Health Care
The bill states that a “person” may not include health-care facilities “with respect to visitation, recognition of a designated representative for health care decision making, or refusal to provide emergency medical treatment necessary to cure an illness or injury.”
With this language, health-care providers may still refuse to provide reproductive health services to women as long as it isn’t an emergency.
Based on model legislation drafted by the Family Research Council.
Similar to HB 2752, which failed to pass in 2016.