After 3 hours of sometimes heated debate, the Georgia state Senate passed House Bill 757 by a vote of 38-14 on Friday. The House previously approved the religious freedom bill 161-0.
But Georgia's state Senate merged that bill with another more controversial bill.
The new bill adds protection for pastors who refuse to perform same sex weddings.
Additionally, the new bill exempts business owners from renting their facilities to gays for ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs.
The bill passed despite the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage across the land last year.
Gay groups such as Georgia Unites Against Discrimination referred to the bill as "state-sanctioned discrimination."
Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle declared a victory over "radical atheist groups."
In a Facebook post, he wrote: "the Senate passed legislation that will protect religious liberties of all of our public school student athletes."
"This sends a clear message that Georgia is still God's country," he added.
The bill is now on Gov. Nathan Deal's desk awaiting his signature.