An Arizona House committee passed a bill that would allow businesses and individuals cite religious beliefs as justification to refuse service to certain groups of people.
In January, a Senate committee gave SB 1062 initial approval, sparking controversy among civil rights groups because they alleged legislation would allow for discrimination against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, among other groups.
State Sen. Steve Yarbrough introduced the bill, with support from the Center for Arizona Policy, a religious organization that aims to work with some members of the state Legislature in political affairs.
The bill was amended by the House Government Committee to address portions of concern by civil rights groups. However, opposing groups argue the bill would still give green light for businesses to discriminate against gays and people of different religions.
The bill passed the House committee with a 5-2 vote, with the two Democrats opposing.
Yarbrough had said his push for such bill was influenced by a New Mexico case where the state Supreme Court allowed a gay couple to se a photographer who refused to record their wedding, The Associated Press reported mid-January.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.