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'Pastor Protection' poised for House approval

Florida State Capitol
Posted at 7:55 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 19:55:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (By The News Service of Florida) -- The House set the stage Tuesday to approve a measure -- dubbed the "Pastor Protection Act" -- that is an outgrowth of court rulings that have legalized same-sex marriage.

Sponsor Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, said the bill (HB 43) is aimed at making clear that clergy and churches do not have to take part in marriage ceremonies that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

But Democrats raised a series of questions about the need for the bill. As an example, Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, said clergy members already do not have to perform ceremonies that are contrary to their beliefs.

The House took up the bill Tuesday and adopted two amendments, setting up a vote on the measure as early as Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, the Senate is slated to take up its version of the bill (SB 110), filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach. Senators could vote on the issue later in the week.