Divisive religious freedom bill sent to full Georgia House committee

Georgia state capitol in Atlanta

Georgia state capitol in Atlanta David Grant

Georgia state capitol in AtlantaDavid Grant

Georgia state capitol in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Members of a Georgia House panel made some changes to a divisive “religious freedom” bill, but left opponents who say it could provide legal cover for discrimination against gays and transgender people dissatisfied.

The subcommittee rejected amendments specifying that government has an interest in preventing discrimination and clarifying that the law would protect individuals rather than companies.

The original bill would forbid state government from infringing on a person’s religious beliefs unless the government can prove a compelling interest.

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Critics say such measures are being considered in 13 states as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for a possible ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

A full House committee is expected to meet Thursday. The bill passed the state Senate earlier this month. Lawmakers plan to end the session on April 2.

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