A South Dakota legislative panel has rejected a measure that sought to protect people from being sued for expressing their religious beliefs regarding sexual orientation.
The bill also sought to protect businesses against lawsuits if they refuse to serve or hire a person because of sexual orientation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 to kill the bill after opponents said it would have no practical effect but would be seen as mean and hateful.
The measure also attempted to order judges to dismiss lawsuits dealing with freedom of speech or hiring based on sexual orientation.
Supporters say the measure is needed to protect businesses against lawsuits if they refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages. Opponents say South Dakota businesses are already free to deny such services.
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