New version of US defence bill leaves out ‘religious freedom’ clause

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A ‘religious freedom’ clause which some politicians had said would lead to anti-gay discrimination, has been removed from a huge US defence policy bill.

The compromise version of the $618.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA was agreed upon yesterday.

It omits a clause which Democrats had argued would allow federal contractors to discriminate against gay people.

The bill is likely to come up for a vote later this week in the House of Representatives, then next week in the Senate.

The latest version of the bill also leaves out a requirement for women to register for the military draft.

That part of the bill was replaced with a study of the selective service system.

Many Republicans had been uneasy with the idea of allowing women into active combat.

Other changes it includes are a 2.1 percent military pay increase.

But it may run into problems. It asks for $3.2 billion more in military spending than President Obama had requested.

Obama vetoed last year’s NDAA because of a similar budgetary issue.
The US Military in June lifted its ban on transgender troops serving openly.