RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates has given preliminary approval to a measure supporters say protects religious liberties, but critics say is an attack on gay rights.
The House gave early approval to a bill Wednesday that prohibits the state from penalizing any group or person who believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Supporters said the measure was needed to protect religious groups because Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order last month requiring future state contractors to agree to a policy that prohibits discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Critics said state law already prohibits religious groups from such discrimination and the bill sends a message that Virginia is not friendly to the LGBT community. McAuliffe vetoed similar legislation last year.
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