Bill seeks to bar companies from citing religious exemptions

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers are weighing a bill aimed at preventing corporations from being able to claim religious exemptions from state anti-discrimination laws for conduct that occurs in Massachusetts.

The bill is a reaction to the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that enabled the Christian-owned Hobby Lobby chain to be exempt from a federal mandate to offer contraceptives as part of its employee health plans.

Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition Executive Director Mason Dunn says LGBTQ people value the freedom of religion but oppose the use of faith to discriminate.

Catholic Action League of Massachusetts Executive Director C.J. Doyle says the goal of the bill is to coerce the consciences of Christians and enforce a homosexual ideology on the rest of society.

The bill has more than a dozen legislative sponsors, all Democrats.

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