GOP lawmakers want exemptions for gay marriage opponents

State Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, shows signatures of fellow lawmakers on a bill he plans to introduce that provides religious exemptions in the wake of last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Atlanta. Kirk says religious adoption agencies, schools and other nonprofits should be able to refuse service to same-sex couples. But Kirk says government employees still would have to carry out duties of their job, including clerks issuing marriage licenses. AP Photo/David Goldman

ATLANTA — Lawmakers around the country are proposing laws that would give businesses and some public employees the right to refuse service for gay couples based on their religious beliefs.

The measures follow this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized gay marriage. The bills are largely proposed by Republicans but aren’t universally supported in the party or by top employers worried they could harm tourism.

The ACLU found lawmakers in at least 22 states will consider some form of exemption for people who object to the marriages. Some would symbolically declare religious leaders do not have to perform ceremonies. Others would allow clerks to remove their names from marriage licenses or protect bakers and florists refusing to provide services for gay marriages.

Odds of the bills passing vary dramatically by state.

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