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Gay Rights Groups Celebrate Defeat of Anti-Gay Oklahoma Bill

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gay rights activists are celebrating the Republican-led defeat of a bill that would have allowed Oklahoma businesses to discriminate against gay people.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-4 on Tuesday against a bill dubbed the "Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act" by Broken Bow Republican Joseph Silk.

The bill would have allowed Oklahomans to refuse to provide goods, services or accommodations to gay people if they were following "sincerely held religious beliefs or conscience ... regarding marriage, lifestyle or behavior."

Two Democrats and three Republicans on the panel voted against the measure.

Troy Stevenson of the gay rights group Freedom Oklahoma praised the members who voted against the bill, but says there still are nearly a dozen more anti-gay measures pending in the Legislature.