HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Legislature has turned away a proposal that if enacted by voters would have given people grounds to disobey any state laws that violate their religion.

Representatives failed House Bill 615 on a 50-50 vote Friday.

The bill resembles a recent Indiana law that allows open discrimination for the sake of "religious freedom."

Supporters say the measure would bring to the state level a 1993 federal law aimed at preventing legislation that substantially burdens a person's right to exercise religion.

Democratic Rep. Bryce Bennett of Missoula says the proposal would legalize discrimination and ask minorities in Montana to live in fear.

Crow tribal member Democratic Rep. Carolyn Pease-Lopez says the bill would stop just short of allowing hate groups to kill her.

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