BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Grace Thornton) — On the heels of a number of marriage-centered prayer rallies in recent weeks, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law June 11 to protect pastors’ freedom to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies that violate their faith.
“Freedom of religion is the most sacred of our rights and our freedom to worship is secured by the Constitution,” Abbott said, according to the Texas Tribune. “Religious leaders in the state of Texas must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that religious freedom is beyond the reach of government or coercion by the courts.”
The Pastor Protection Act goes into effect Sept. 1.
A bill with similar protections — the Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act — passed the Alabama House of Representatives this year but never made it out of the Senate. But according to Rep. Jim Hill (R-Odenville) who sponsored the bill, the U.S. Constitution already offers protection to pastors. The bill would simply have affirmed that.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule within the next two weeks on whether existing state bans on gay “marriage” — like the one in Alabama — will remain intact.