A Virginia bill is aimed at preventing the government from going after those who have religious opposition to gay marriage, premarital sex or transgender people.
The Virginia House passed the Government Nondiscrimination Act on Tuesday by a vote of 56-41, but the state's governor already promised a veto.
The bill would also cover businesses that refuse to serve customers based on sexual orientation or gay marriage.
Virginia's House is mainly Republican. But there were still outspoken Democrat voices at the hearing.
"This is a violation of the establishment clause plain and simple," House Delegate Marcus Simon said. "This is exactly what the court and the Supreme Court has said we can't do."
Some outlets are nicknaming the legislation after Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses to local residents.
In fact, similar bills were introduced in Kentucky's Senate and House.