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Michigan governor reiterates he would veto religious objections bill that doesn’t protect gays

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)
Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder warned Thursday that he would veto religious objections legislation unless lawmakers also send him a bill extending anti-discrimination protections to gays.

The Republican for months has expressed skepticism with a proposed state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act if there is no accompanying measure to amend Michigan’s civil rights law by prohibiting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents in employment, housing and places open to the public.

On Thursday, as Indiana and Arkansas scrambled amid criticism over “religious freedom” bills, Snyder went further and told the Detroit Free Press he would veto a religious objections bill if it came to his desk as stand-alone legislation.

“Given all the events that are happening in Indiana, I thought it would be good to clarify my position,” he said.

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Michigan’s religious liberty bill won approval along party lines from the Republican-controlled House in December’s lame-duck session but died in the GOP-led Senate. It was reintroduced in January and is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It also is included majority House Republicans’ two-year “action plan,” though no House bill has been introduced yet.

Supporters of the measure point to cases such as a suburban Denver baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding and is fighting an order requiring him to serve gay couples against his religious beliefs. Critics say the legislation would permit discrimination against gays.

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