‘Pas­tor Pro­tec­tion Act’ passes in Ge­or­gia House

GA Voice - - News Briefs -

A bill that would keep religious of­fi­cials from be­ing re­quired to per­form same-sex mar­riage cer­e­monies passed 161–0 in the House on Feb. 11. It was the first of eight religious ex­emp­tion bills un­der con­sid­er­a­tion in the leg­is­la­ture to reach the cham­ber for a vote, and a move that widens the na­tional spot­light on Ge­or­gia’s leg­isla­tive re­ac­tion to last sum­mer’s U.S. Supreme Court rul­ing on same-sex mar­riage.

House Bill 757 was first sug­gested last sum­mer by House Speaker David Ral­ston fol­low­ing the U.S. Supreme Court rul­ing. Rep. Kevin Tan­ner (R-Daw­sonville) in­tro­duced the bill in Jan­uary, and it breezed through a House sub­com­mit­tee be­fore mak­ing it through the full House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee.

While there is noth­ing in state or fed­eral law that would re­quire religious of­fi­cials to per­form such cer­e­monies, Tan­ner has said he’s heard con­cerns from those who fear the op­po­site, and that HB 757 is meant to al­le­vi­ate that “un­ease.”

Sev­eral law­mak­ers took the op­por­tu­nity to speak out in fa­vor of the bill on the House floor Thurs­day, recit­ing Bi­ble pas­sages and mak­ing it seem more like a church ser­vice than a leg­isla­tive day.

While many con­sider the bill the least con­tro­ver­sial of the religious ex­emp­tion bills, some le­gal schol­ars wor­ried that Sec­tion 3 of the bill was too broad and could al­low religious or­ga­ni­za­tions to dis­crim­i­nate against the LGBT com­mu­nity.

Rev. Gra­ham bashes gay mar­riage, trans­gen­der rights at rally

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