Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, a Republican, on Thursday signed a bill critics say will allow discrimination against the LGBT community.

Senate Bill 215 requires a state government agency to show a “compelling governmental interest” to interfere with an individual's religious beliefs.

Twenty-one states have similar Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) laws.

“The governor signed SB215 into law to protect the freedom of people of all faiths to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs,” a spokesperson for the governor said in a statement. “Montana joins 21 other states with RFRA laws, where it has historically been used to allow Native American children to wear braids in school, Sikhs to wear turbans in the military, and Christian employers to refuse to cover abortions under their health insurance policies.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana opposed the bill. It said that the law could be used by wedding providers to refuse services to same-sex couples and by pharmacies to turn away women seeking to fill a birth control prescription, among other examples.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, more than 250 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in state legislatures this session. Nearly half target the transgender community.

“The slate of anti-LGBTQ bills that are rippling through the Montana state legislature will generate serious consequences for all Montanans,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. “SB 215 will have a significant impact on vulnerable communities in Montana – including people of faith, women, and LGBTQ people. It will also jeopardize Montana businesses that voted for Governor Gianforte with the hopes of getting the state’s economy back on track. Let me be clear: religious liberty and equality are not mutually exclusive, and Montanas will not stand by as Governor Gianforte and fearful legislators seek to actively discriminate against the LGBTQ population.”

HRC noted that in 2015, then-Governor Mike Pence signed a similar RFRA bill in Indiana which was met with significant backlash, leading to a decline in state revenues.