Bill would let Tennessee businesses refuse gay couples

Bill would let Tennessee businesses refuse gay couples

February 17th, 2014 by The Tennessean in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee lawmakers are taking up a bill that would let cake makers, florists and other vendors refuse service to same-sex couples who wish to marry, even if the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage is struck down.

A Senate panel is scheduled to debate a measure this week meant to give businesses the explicit power to turn down same-sex ceremonies if they contradict "sincerely held religious beliefs." The bill comes as courts and legislatures throughout the country have been legalizing same-sex marriages, in some cases striking down state bans.

"We want to make sure we protect the conscience and religious freedom of businesses," said state Sen. Mike Bell, the bill's sponsor.

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