CA Senator Mark Leno Introduces Bill Reaffirming Religious Freedom . SB 1140 reinforces that no clergy member will be required to perform any marriage that is against his or her belief system. So maybe the religious right can stop whining about lesbian and gay civil rights to marriage equality.
by Mel Nathan, February 21st, 2012
SACRAMENTO – Senator Mark Leno introduced legislation today that clarifies the religious freedom of clergy members in California. Senate Bill 1140 reaffirms the separation of church and state and clarifies under state law that no member of clergy will be required to perform a marriage that is contrary to his or her faith. SB 1140 also protects churches from losing their tax-exempt status if they refuse to perform a marriage that is contrary to their faith. The bill is sponsored by Equality California and California Council of Churches IMPACT.
“With the recent appellate court decision on Proposition 8, we know that it is only a matter of time before same-sex couples in California will again have the freedom to marry,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Under SB 1140, churches and clergy members who fear their religious views are threatened by allowing marriage for same-sex couples will have clear and solid protections under state law. Similarly, churches that welcome same-sex couples will be able to fully recognize those families within their faith.”
“Equality California is committed to eliminating every possible barrier to securing the freedom to marry, including the false claim made by anti-equality advocates in California and elsewhere that allowing loving same-sex couples to marry will force clergy or places of worship to compromise their religious beliefs,” said Equality California Board President Clarissa Filgioun. “This bill makes our intention and the law clear—all committed couples ought to have the freedom to marry and all clergy ought to be able to operate freely according to the tenets of their faith.”