(Reuters) – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday refused to sign a bill that would permit discussion of creationism in classrooms alongside the traditional evolutionary-based explanation of the origins of life, but allowed it to become law anyway.

The legislation, dubbed the “Monkey Bill” by critics, had sailed through the conservative-leaning state’s Republican-dominated legislature.

Haslam, a Republican, earlier had said he would sign the bill despite his misgivings about its impact on the state’s science curriculum. After a petition drive against the proposed legislation, he chose to let it become law without his signature.

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