Michigan House Panel Passes Religious Freedom Bill

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A bill that supporters say would protect people’s right to exercise their religious beliefs free from government overreach has won approval from a Michigan legislative panel.

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 along party lines Thursday to move the legislation to the full House.

Democrats in opposition say the bill lets people discriminate against gays and others.

House Speaker Jase Bolger denies his legislation would provide a “license to discriminate.” He wants to push ahead with it in the lame-duck session even though a related measure to prohibit discrimination against gays is stalled.

Bolger’s bill would create a Michigan version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It would provide a claim or defense to people who argue their exercise of religion has been substantially burdened by the government.

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