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Kentucky: Legislature overrides veto of anti-gay “Religious Freedom Act”

The Kentucky legislature last night voted to override Gov. Steve Beshear’s veto of the Religious Freedom Act, which allows state residents to disobey civil rights laws on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The state House’s 79-15 vote sent HB279 to the Senate, which voted 32-6 to override the measure.

Gov. Beshear released the following statement: “As I explained in my veto message, I have significant concerns that this bill will cause serious unintentional consequences that could threaten public safety, health care, and individuals’ civil rights.”

Activists are concerned that the law will be used to challenge LGBT rights ordinances in Louisville, Lexington, Covington. and Vicco.

The text of the bill:

Government shall not burden a person’s or religious organization’s freedom of religion. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves by clear and convincing evidence that it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A “burden” shall include indirect burdens such as withholding benefits,assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.