‘Religious Freedom’ Debate Returns To The Legislature

The debate over the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" returns to the Georgia Legislature.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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A group of state Senate Republicans has proposed legislation that they say protects the people’s religious rights.

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The measure says the state government should follow the pattern set out in the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

That law says the Federal government must show a “compelling government interest” before it can restrict someone’s exercise of religion.

The new bill is not as broad as the one vetoed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal last year.

At the time, he said there are already sufficient protections for religious freedom in the U.S. Constitution.

Some 20 GOP senators have co-sponsored the bill, and they say it should become law because it’s more narrowly-written than last year’s measure.

Business groups and gay rights advocates have already lined up in opposition to the new bill, saying, if it becomes law, it would allow discrimination against LGBT people, and damage the state’s ability to attract business and jobs.