BOISE -- A House panel kept alive a measure to protect religious people sued for refusing to serve customers they believe violate their faith.

The State Affairs Committee voted 11-5 Wednesday to send the bill to the House floor, where it could get amendments.

All supporters were Republicans.

Two Republicans joined three Democrats against the bill.

The hearing focused on Republican Rep. Lynn Luker's measure updating a 14-year-old law focusing on religious rights.

Currently, Luker said, faithful people can use this law only if they're sued by government, not if they're sued by individuals.

Nearly everyone, from Idaho Episcopalian church leaders to gay rights activists, opposed Luker's measure, fearing it enshrines discrimination in law.

One of two supporters to speak, Julie Lynde, said it closed a loophole that left religious freedoms vulnerable.

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