Republican Josh Hawley, a candidate for Missouri attorney general, has proposed exemptions for opponents of marriage equality.

Hawley's proposal, which he pitched this month in a letter to legislative leaders, would exempt businesses and religious groups from participating in the marriage ceremonies of gay and lesbian couples, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Hawley, a University of Missouri School of Law associate professor, said that his proposal would provide “targeted protections” for people with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Steph Perkins, interim executive director of LGBT rights advocate PROMO, said that current law does not prohibit businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Unfortunately, Missouri does not protect same-sex couples or transgender people in any public accommodation,” he told the paper.

Hawley faces state Senator Kurt Schaefer in the August GOP primary.