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Along party lines, Georgia Senate passes religious freedom bill

Library of Congress

The Georgia Senate passed a religious freedom bill Thursday, resurrecting an issue that roiled the General Assembly eight years ago.

Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was approved 33-19 along party lines, state and local governments would not be permitted to “substantially burden” an individual’s free exercise of religion unless the government could demonstrate it had a “compelling governmental interest” in doing so and that it was using the “least restrictive means” of intrusion.

But the bill’s Democratic opponents said the measure could be used to discriminate against LGBTQ Georgians under the guise of religious freedom.

The legislation now heads to the Georgia House of Representatives.