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West Virginia Pushes Forward with Religious Freedom Protections


West Virginia lawmakers are pushing ahead with plans to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

If that happens, West Virginia will be the first state to enact a religious freedom law over the veto of the governor.

"Religious freedom is a basic right that deserves attention under the law," House Majority Whip John O'Neal, R-Raleigh, said.

Tim Armstead has been speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates since 2015.

"West Virginans take their religious liberties and their religious rights very seriously, and they want to see us ensure that those are protected," Armstead said.

"We just want to make sure that we set up a process in West Virginia where those who feel their rights have been infringed upon that they have a remedy," he added.

Legislators expect controversy as they move this bill toward a vote and are planning a rally in support of the measure on Jan. 28.

"We would surely appreciate the prayers of the people across this country, that we would do what's right and show the courage that's needed to take this across the finish line," Armstead said.

"In our state and in many others right now, unfortunately, a person can go to church on Sunday and worship, and on Monday they can go to work and lose their business because of who they love, if the person they love happens to be the Lord," O'Neal added.

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