RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed Republican-backed legislation that would bar the government from punishing people who object on religious grounds to participating in the preparations for same-sex weddings.


The Democratic governor vetoed a similar legislation last year. Republican supporters say the measure is necessary to protect religious freedom.


When McAuliffe signed the veto on Thursday he said that the Constitution already protects legitimate religious freedoms and that the vetoed legislation  was designed to stigmatize couples. Had the legislation become law, said McAuliffe, it would have been detrimental to the state’s economy.


McAuliffe, who is often at odds with the GOP-controlled General Assembly over social issues, has now vetoed more bills than any other Virginia governor.

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