A Tennessee Senator has dropped a bill which would have allowed businesses to refuse service for gay couples’ weddings based on religious beliefs.

Senator Mike Bell on Tuesday shelved the ‘Religious Freedom Act’, (SB2566) before it went to a vote.

After having taken over as lead sponsor of the bill last week, Bell admitted that the legislation was unnecessary, noting that business owners already have protections under Tennessee law.

“I’m convinced that current law protects people of faith,” Bell said.

Various members of the Senate who turned up to object to the bill applauded the decision to drop it. LGBT rights advocates had also gathered to oppose the measure.

“We are glad that the senator will not push a bill that says here’s a class [of people] you can discriminate against,” said Chris Sanders, executive director of Tennessee Equality Project.