Virginia governor vetoes religious protection bill

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A boy holds up a sign during a rally by gay rights supporters. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mark Makela

A boy holds up a sign during a rally by gay rights supporters. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mark Makela

(Reuters) – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed ministers and others refuse to marry gay couples because of their religious beliefs — a right to refuse that clergy already have.

The measure, approved by the Republican-controlled legislature, included provisions to allow business owners, based on their religious views, to decline to serve or employ LGBT people and would drive business away from the state.

RELATED STORY: Reactionary Christianity wins in North Carolina, loses in Georgia

Although couched as a ‘religious freedom’ bill, this legislation is nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize,”McAuliffe, a Democrat, said in a statement calling the bill unconstitutional.

The Republicans do not have enough votes in the state’s General Assembly to override the veto.

McAuliffe’s move comes just days after Georgia’s Republican governor said he would veto a similar bill after the measure drew national criticism..

Similar measures in states such as Indiana and Arkansas sparked criticism last year, forcing many lawmakers to retreat. North Carolina is also seeing protests over a new law that bars transgender people from choosing bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

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  • George Nixon Shuler

    Anybody who claims elections do not matter need only to look at stories like this: Elect a right-wing Republican like McCrory in North Carolina and the most mean-spirited oppression is legislated and signed into law. Elect a liberal Democrat like McAuliffe and freedom is protected from the oppression which comes when hateful legislation is passed. elections have consequences. Much of the vitriol directed at President Obama is due to the fact that fooling people into voting against themselves no longer works like it used to work. .

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  • G Key

    Well said, George Nixon Shuler!
    I think you’re speaking for a lot of people, and very eloquently, too.

  • McAuliffe did the right thing. As long as clergy have the right of refusal to marry LBTGs in their churches, the matter of providing services in the secular world must be permitted under all conditions.

  • Everett

    Because the First Amendment is doing such a wonderful job?

  • yoh

    Yep. Despite the efforts of Christian fundamentalists bigots to turn it into a joke.