A controversial religious freedom bill in Indiana that critics say could legalize discrimination against LGBT people is on track to become a law after the state’s House approved it 63-31 on Monday.
The bill would prohibit local government from “substantially burdening” a person’s free expression of religion with few exemptions, the Indianapolis Star reports. Opponents of the bill say it could give business owners a free pass to refuse service to customers in same-sex relationships. Supporters, however, say it protects citizens from government intrusion on their beliefs.
The bill is based on the decades-old federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act law, which played a major part in the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that allowed companies to opt out of a requirement to cover contraceptives to female employees under the Affordable Care Act for religious reasons.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has voiced his support for the bill, which was approved in a different form by the Indiana Senate in February. Some 19 other states have similar laws in place.
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