'License to Discriminate' Bill Had Passed by Large Margin in House
The West Virginia Senate has just killed an anti-gay "religious freedom" bill that, like many RFRAs across the nation's legislatures, would have made discriminating against LGBT people - especially same-sex couples - legal, by letting anyone or any company, corporation, or organization claim to have a "sincerely held religious or moral belief" against same-sex marriage or even LGBT people in general.
Senators defeated HB 4012, the newly-renamed "Religious Freedom Protection Act," by a vote of 27-7.
HB 4012 had been amended from the House version to add some protections for LGBT people, but even then, at that point, it had become toxic.
"The WV Senate's rejection of House Bill 4012 is a resounding victory for Fairness West Virginia, our allies, our supporters, and Mountaineers everywhere," Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of the Fairness West Virginia, said in a statement.
"With similar discriminatory legislation being considered in states across the nation, West Virginia sent a clear message to the world that Mountaineers do not tolerate discrimination. This action proves once again that bipartisan support for nondiscrimination principles is a guiding force in our state."
The bill had passed the House in a 72-26 vote.
During debate, Democratic Delegate Mike Pushkin delivered a memorable and impactful speech, reminding his fellow delegates that "baking a cake is not persecution."
Here's the bill being voted on an defeated:
The ACLU of West Virginia also weighed in on the bill's defeat.
"What the West Virginia Senate did today was to stand firm against misguided efforts to turn back the clock to a time when we look at each other as enemies," Jennifer Meinig, Executive Director of the ACLU of WV said in a statement posted to Facebook. "Instead, the Senate chose to see each and every one of us as part of the fabric of our society, each valued for our own individual talents and traits."
Image: Screenshot via YouTube
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