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Lawmakers OK Bill to Protect Religious Expression in Schools

A bill headed to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's desk is designed to protect religious expressions in public schools but has LGBT advocates worried it will give student groups a license to discriminate.

Senate Bill 17 passed the state House of Representatives by a vote of 81-8 on Monday. It would prohibit school officials from punishing students for wearing religious messages on their clothes and expressing religious or political beliefs in homework, artwork and speeches. It would also prevent school officials from regulating student organizations, including the selection of members and "doctrines and principles."

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said the bill would allow student groups to discriminate against LGBT students "under the guise of religion." Republican state Rep. John Blanton said the bill just guarantees students First Amendment rights.

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