VIRGINIA

Prayer bill advances in Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A bill allowing students to object when secular teachings violate their religious beliefs is advancing Virginia despite a promise to challenge it in court.

Republican Sen. Bill Stanley's proposed constitutional amendment stating a right to pray at schools and on all government property won the Privileges and Elections Committee's 8-6 approval on Tuesday.

The party line vote came after Democratic opponents argued that students who believe the Bible's account of divine creation in the Book of Genesis could cite the amendment in refusing to study the big bang theory in physics class.

American Civil Liberties Union director Claire Gastanaga promised a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality if it passes.

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