The Latest: Obama spokesman: LGBT equality fight goes on

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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 3:03 PM
The Latest: Obama spokesman: LGBT equality fight goes on

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the Georgia governor's veto of a religious exemptions bill (all times local):

3 p.m.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama was never under the impression that last year's Supreme Court decision effectively legalizing gay marriage would end the struggle for equality, justice and fairness.

Earnest made the remarks to reporters accompanying Obama as he flew to Atlanta for an unrelated appearance on Tuesday.

The spokesman said the president believes "that we can take all the necessary steps to protect religious freedom without giving people the approval to discriminate against people because of who they love."

A Georgia bill vetoed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday would have allowed clergy to refuse to perform gay marriages and church-affiliated religious groups to invoke faith reasons when refusing to serve or hire someone.

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12 p.m.

Conservative groups in Georgia say Gov. Nathan Deal's veto of a "religious freedom" bill shows he has turned his back on people of faith.

Representatives for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, the Faith and Freedom Coalition and others said Tuesday they won't give up on passing legislation in future years.

A portion of the bill vetoed Monday lets people claiming their religious freedoms have been burdened by state or local laws force governments to prove there's a "compelling" state interest overriding their beliefs. Supporters say more than 30 states have similar laws.

Republican state Sen. Marty Harbin of Tyrone also called on House and Senate leadership to demand a special session in response to Deal's veto, joining two other senators.

Legislative leaders have given no sign they will try.

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4 a.m.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's plan to veto a "religious freedom" bill has supporters vowing that the issue isn't going away.

Some of the top groups supporting the measure are set to discuss their next steps Tuesday morning.

Lawmakers adjourned Thursday for the year. They need three-fifths of each chamber to request a special session to respond to Deal's veto.

If they can't meet that high bar, backers of the bill say they'll be back with a new proposal during the next legislative session.

Gay-rights advocates, though, say Georgia lawmakers should focus on creating protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. State law doesn't offer that now for employment, housing or other services.

Deal, a Republican, said Monday that Georgia shouldn't permit discrimination to protect people of faith.