Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Thursday vetoed a bill which sought to protect opponents of marriage equality.

The bill, introduced by Republican Senator Charles Carrico, protects individuals who refuse to participate in a marriage ceremony based on their “religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman” from criminal or civil liability. The bill's definition of a “person” includes an “organization supervised or controlled by or operated in connection with a religious organization.”

Republican Delegate Nicholas Freitas backed an identical bill in the House of Delegates.

In announcing his decision to veto the bill, McAuliffe, a Democrat, called the legislation “discriminatory.”

Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish applauded McAuliffe's decision in a statement, saying that the bill “does not protect religious liberty” but instead “provides a license to discriminate against loving LGBTQ families; furthermore, its broad and vague definition of 'person' would set a dangerous precedent for discriminatory individuals and groups to be protected by our religious freedom laws.”