Bossier City state representative files 'religious freedom' bill

Published: Apr. 3, 2015 at 10:19 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 23, 2015 at 7:55 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (KSLA) - A Louisiana lawmaker has filed a religious objections bill similar to laws that are drawing national attention in Indiana and Arkansas.

Republican Rep. Mike Johnson filed the "Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act" on Friday.

The newly-elected state lawmaker from Bossier City says the bill would protect people from penalties by the state because of their beliefs on marriage.

Johnson says the proposal "provides that all persons and entities will enjoy the same protections against adverse treatment by the State, regardless of whether they have a religious belief or moral conviction in favor of the State's definition of marriage, or against it."

HB 707 bans the state from denying licenses, certifications, employment, contracts, benefits or tax deductions because of actions a person takes "in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction" about marriage.

"In other words," said Johnson, "State government will never be allowed to bully or coerce people simply because of what they believe about marriage."

Equality Louisiana, a gay rights organization, said Johnson's proposal would allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against gays, lesbians and transgender people.

The bill will be up for discussion when the Louisiana legislative session begins April 13th.

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