Bill Would Protect Calif. Clergy From Gay Weddings

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Religious officials who do not want to perform gay weddings will not have to worry about jeopardizing their nonprofit status if a bill approved by the state Assembly becomes California law.

SB1140 seeks to allay concerns from clergy that if gay marriage is legalized, they could be forced to perform gay weddings that contradict their religious beliefs.

The bill passed the Assembly 48-24 Tuesday with many Republicans voting no. It now returns to the state Senate.

Democratic Sen. Mark Leno, of San Francisco, says the bill is intended to reassure clergy that their right to freedom of religion includes the freedom not to perform same-sex marriages.

Voters approved Proposition 8 in 2008, making gay marriage illegal in California. Leno's bill would apply if that ballot initiative were overturned.

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