Panel OKs bill to bolster religious freedom claims

By Ben Finley/Associated Press, Published:

(AP) — A Senate panel cleared a bill that would give stronger protections in court to people who claim the government has infringed upon their religious freedom.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the proposal Wednesday. It now proceeds to the full Senate for consideration.

The House overwhelming passed the measure on Friday.

A handful of lawmakers in the House and the Senate committee have claimed the bill could go too far. For instance, they say it could allow organizations to undermine civil rights protections or deny social services based on religious beliefs.

The bill's proponents say such matters would be left to the courts. They say the bill would only give a higher level of legal protection to someone making an infringement claim.

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