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Some in Georgia GOP fear harm from 'religious freedom' issue

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Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Republicans face an ongoing debate on measures to protect people acting on religious belief. Opponents worry the proposals could shield discrimination against gay or transgender people.

A "religious freedom" bill in the General Assembly didn't receive a House vote before session ended Thursday. The proposal is expected to return next year. The measure's sponsor says he wants to discuss it at the state party convention and other events this summer.

Some party members say focusing on the issue divides the GOP's business wing from religious backers. Others fear it sends the wrong message to young voters who are more accepting of gay rights.

Supporters say it is necessary. They say federal and state versions using similar language have not been used as a successful defense for discrimination.

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