States map 2015 for blog Written by Don Byrd

The West Virginia House of Delegates today voted 72-26 to pass a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill. Like other RFRA bills and their federal counterpart, West Virginia’s (HB 4012) would allow the state to substantially burden a person’s religious exercise only when the state can demonstrate the burden is necessary to achieve a compelling government interest.

Think Progress reports “Several amendments that would have clarified that RFRA could not be used to supersede local nondiscrimination ordinances were defeated on Wednesday. There are seven municipalities in West Virginia that offer such protections to the LGBT community.”

Unlike some controversial RFRA proposals like those that caused intense backlash last year in Indiana and Arkansas, West Virginia’s uses language very similar to the federal RFRA law. The bill now heads to the West Virginia Senate.

Follow the progress of West Virginia’s and other state RFRA legislation at the BJC’s State RFRA Tracker.

See the Baptist Joint Committee’s resources on RFRA.