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Civil rights protection now in ‘religious freedom’ bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After several attempts failed earlier this year, West Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday finally amended a “religious freedom” bill in a way they hope will prevent it from being used to discriminate against the LGBT community.

Previous attempts to amend the bill (HB 4012) to protect civil rights laws had failed in the House Judiciary Committee, on the House of Delegates floor and in the Senate Judiciary Committee. But on the Senate floor Tuesday, several Republican senators crossed party lines to support an amendment from Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha. The amendment passed on a 23-11 vote.

Palumbo’s amendment says the bill does not apply to any federal, state or local nondiscrimination laws or ordinances, or to any federal, state or local laws or ordinances concerning child vaccinations.

At the end of nearly two hours of debate on the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, spoke through tears and urged his colleagues to support the amendment…

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