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Controversial religious freedom bill hits snag in Louisiana state House

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“I absolutely intend to fight for the passage of this legislation — and any other that seeks to preserve our most fundamental freedoms,” Jindal said in a speech to both chambers of the Legislature. “All this bill does is provide necessary protections for individuals to prevent adverse treatment from the state based on religious beliefs regarding marriage. This legislation does not allow a restaurant or industry to refuse service to a gay or lesbian person.”

But others in the Legislature aren’t so sure it’s a worthy cause to take up this legislative session, while lawmakers are wrestling with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.

“As it was originally introduced, I’m not in favor of it,” said Alario, R-Westwego. “It would put Louisiana in such a bad light, we don’t want any part of it.”

Several legislators tried to tiptoe around discussing the bill Monday.

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“To be honest, I’ve been spending all my time on the $1.6 billion (budget deficit) and haven’t had a chance to dig into it,” said House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles.

Longtime Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said that although the issue has “clearly gathered national attention,” he hasn’t taken a position yet on Johnson’s bill. “Right now I’m more interested in doing what we were sent here to do and that is deal with this budget,” he said.

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