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The latest Montana politics, elections and Legislature news.

Gianforte Signs Religious Freedom Restoration Act Into Law

Sen. Carl Glimm (R) SD-2
Montana Legislature
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Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed a bill into law that aims to protect religious freedom. Opponents say the policy will harm LGBTQ people.

Republican Sen. Carl Glimm said he brought the policy to strengthen federal legal protections in Montana for religious beliefs outlined in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He said it will give religious people recourse in court if their beliefs are substantially burdened by government regulation.

Democrats and LGBTQ advocates oppose the bill, saying it will legally protect discrimination towards LGBTQ Montanans in housing, employment and health care.

Gianforte’s administration lobbied in favor of the bill when it was heard in committee and insists the measure is not a license to discriminate.

University of Montana Constitutional Law Professor Anthony Johnstone said in an early-April MTPR interview that the state’s free exercise clause, and the court’s interpretation of it, have established broad religious protections. He said the new law might not change much.

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