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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Sunday Spin 2: Strange bedfellows department

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, and Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, are pretty far apart politically, but they managed to agree, albeit briefly, on the importance of a bill during a session of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.

The bill was HB 2097, which prohibits employers or government officials from keeping a list of employees’ or citizens’ religious affiliations or asking about someone’s faith.

“This seems like it fits well with Washington values, in terms of both religious freedom and federal intervention on these things,” Jinkins said, urging the committee to vote yes.

Shea, too, urged a yes vote. “On a day when many view the Washington state Supreme Court opinion as enshrining the persecution of Christians, I think this bill gives us hope.”

That was a reference to the court’s 9-0 ruling that morning that said a florist in the Tri-Cities couldn’t refuse to provide flowers to a same-sex wedding because of her religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Shea went on to quote protections in the federal and state constitutions on their protections of religious liberty and tolerance.

“I guess we can disagree about what the Supreme Court did today,” said Jinkins, who earlier had joined other members of the LGBT caucus in praising the decision. “But I guess we can save that for another day.”

The committee passed the bill on a unanimous voice vote.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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