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Calif. bill would shield clergy from gay weddings

Posted: May 31, 2012 2:00 p.m.
Updated: May 31, 2012 2:00 p.m.

The California Senate has approved a bill intended to ensure that religious officials would not jeopardize their nonprofit status if they refuse to perform gay weddings.

Democratic Sen. Mark Leno says his SB1140 addresses the legitimate concerns from clergy that they could be forced to perform same-sex marriages that contradict their religious beliefs. It passed the Assembly on a 23-11 vote on Thursday, sending it to the Senate. Most Republicans opposed it.

Voters declared gay marriage illegal in California with Proposition 8 in 2008, but Leno's bill would apply if gay marriage were legalized in the future.

The San Francisco lawmaker says he wants to make it clear that the First Amendment right to freedom of religion includes the freedom not to perform gay marriage.



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