Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bill Proposed In California To Protect Clergy From Perfoming Same-Sex Marriages

As the federal court trial challenging the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban continues (New York Times 1/27), proponents of same-sex marriage yesterday introduced a bill in the California legislature to make the prospect more appealing to opponents. The Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act (SB 906) emphasizes the distinction between religious and civil marriage by changing language in state statutes relating to marriage to refer to "civil marriage." The bill goes on to add to the section which permits clergy to perform marriage ceremonies:
No person authorized by this subdivision shall be required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith. Any refusal to solemnize a marriage under this subdivision shall not affect the tax exempt status of any entity.
According to LAist yesterday, both Equality California (press release) and the California Council of Churches back the measure.