CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia Senate has passed a controversial bill aimed at protecting religious rights in the Mountain State.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act with a vote of 30-3. There were no changes from the version passed by the House, so the bill now moves to the governor’s office.

The bill, HB 3042, passed the West Virginia House of Delegates on Monday with a vote of 82-12.

Supporters say the bill will provide a standard in court for people who claim government actions have infringed on their religious beliefs. However, critics, including many people in the LGBTQIA+ community, say the law could be used to discriminate against them.

Statements have been released from both sides about the bill’s passage.

Fairness West Virginia says the State Senate rushed to “approve the License to Discriminate Bill”

It’s pretty clear to me why our Senators are so fond of this fly-by-night Democracy. Proponents of the bill like to pretend it’s a harmless proposal that merely protects religious freedom, but it’s nothing more than a license to discriminate under the guise of religious freedom.

Andrew Schneider, Executive Director, Fairness West Virginia

On the other side, West Virginia GOP Chairwoman Elgine McArdle says the bill “stood up for our rights and defended our core values.”

The Secular Left has weaponized the government against men and women of faith all over the country, whether it is forcing them to bake cakes for weddings which they do not want to participate, or for prosecuting Catholics who pray outside of abortion clinics. I am proud that the elected leadership in West Virginia stood up for our rights and defended our core values.

Elgine McArdle, Chairwoman, West Virginia Republican Party