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Contentious religious objections bill scheduled for hearing

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BATON ROUGE - A contentious bill that thrust Louisiana into a national debate over religious objections laws will finally get a hearing.

The bill stirred controversy when it was proposed. The Tuesday hearing before the House civil law committee comes after the halfway point of the legislative session and may make passage difficult.

As written, the legislation would prohibit the state from denying any resident, nonprofit or business a license, benefits or tax deductions because of actions taken "in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction" about marriage.

Bill sponsor Rep. Mike Johnson, a Bossier City Republican, says people who oppose same-sex marriage need to be protected if a gay marriage ban is struck down.

Opponents say the bill could allow discrimination against gays and lesbians on moral or religious grounds.

A rally is expected on the steps of the Capitol Tuesday, before a committee takes up House Bill 707.

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