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Pastor’s Protection Bill

HB 3567 – Sanford
SB 2065 – Estes

Nothing is more fundamental to the American experience than the free practice of religion. No church or other religious institution, or clergy person acting in their official capacity as a religious leader, can be forced to celebrate, recognize or serve a person that that institution or person’s religious belief calls on them to shun. SB 2065 enumerates that already-existing right. The bill is less clear than is ideal that those protections do not extend to a clergy person who is employed by the government or a private employer that requires that services and goods must be provided without bias. Clarity regarding the narrowness of the bill was provided by the author and sponsor in the floor debate on the bill, which is a part of the official legislative record.

The final version of this bill, along with the clarified intent in the record, are proof that religious liberty and the freedom to marry are not mutually exclusive concepts and that both can be celebrated and protected by the law.