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RFRA measure triggers tension between religious liberty, LGBT rights

courtesy photo: Progress Michigan

One of the hot button issues of this year’s lame duck session was the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill. The bill would exempt people from state and local laws if they can prove those laws violate deeply held religious beliefs. Opponents of the legislation say it amounts to a “license to discriminate”, and they are worried about its implications after a companion bill that would have expanded LGBT protections died in committee.But Republican Representative Jase Bolger says the bill he sponsored, which passed the House earlier this month, is necessary to protect people’s religious beliefs from government interference.

It’s unlikely that RFRA will make it to the Senate floor before the end of lame duck, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be brought back to life by an even more conservative legislature in 2015.

Current State talks about RFRA with Chris Lund,  an associate professor at Wayne State University Law School who focuses on religious liberty, and Emily Dievendorf, executive director of Equality Michigan about the LGBT community’s response to the bill.

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