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Maine Senate Rejects Religious Freedom Bill
02/18/2014 4:12 PM ET  

Opponents say the bill is unnecessary because religious freedom is already protected under the Maine Constitution and federal and state laws, but supporters strongly disagree.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Maine lawmakers have rejected a bill designed to strengthen legal protections for religious freedom in the state.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 19-16 in favor of rejecting the bill, sending it to the House for further consideration.

Republican Sen. David Burns of Whiting says his bill would ensure that the state must have a strong justification before it can infringe upon someone's religious liberty.

Opponents say the bill is unnecessary because religious freedom is already protected under the Maine Constitution and federal and state laws. They say the bill will have significant unintended consequences and roll back years of progress for human rights.

Burns dismissed the idea that the bill allows religious people to get away with anything they want and says the opposition fails to understand the bill's purpose.

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