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Georgia House Panel Backs Legislation to Protect Religious Freedom


Georgia law doesn't require religious officials to perform same-sex marriages, and a new bill is making that clear.
The "Pastor Protection Act," the first of several proposed religious exemptions for opponents of the marriages to gain any traction this year, won approval this week in a House Judiciary subcommittee and was sent on for a full committee vote.
At least 8 bills filed by lawmakers would grant a variety of exemptions for people who object to same-sex marriage.
House Speaker David Ralston has thrown his support behind the Pastor Protection Act, which also would allow religious organizations to prevent property from being used for purposes "objectionable" to their religious beliefs.
Gay-rights supporters question that portion of the bill, arguing it could let nonprofits connected to churches limit access to housing, food pantries or other services but continue to receive federal or state tax dollars without meeting nondiscrimination requirements.

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