Foes step up action in religious freedom bill debate

The coalition that led last year’s campaign against adding a gay marriage ban to Indiana’s constitution is stepping up its opposition to a proposal that supporters say would allow those with religious objections to refuse services for same-sex weddings.

Freedom Indiana argues the bill could override civil rights ordinances in several cities that include protections for gays. The group is planning a Statehouse rally ahead of an Indiana House committee hearing on the bill Monday morning.

The Republican-backed bill cleared the state Senate last month and is among similar measures introduced in at least a dozen states that critics say could provide legal cover for discrimination against gays and transgender people.

Bill sponsor Representative Tim Wesco of Osceola (o-see-O’-la) says it’s aimed at protecting religious activities from government intrusion.