TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law on Thursday, March 10th, 2016 protecting will pastors and priests who refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
The notice sent out by Governor Rick Scott states: “This bill specifies that clergy are not required to perform marriages if in violation of sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Under the HB-43 bill, pastors and clergy will no longer have to fear losing their tax-exempt status for declining to perform marriages for same-sex couples. The bill was proposed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June of 2015, to extend the definition of marriage beyond one man and one woman.
The LGBT community protested the original bill, citing that it was not necessary due to the protection of clergy under the First Amendment. The bill was subsequently amended to exclude businesses and religiously affiliated organizations providing services to the public.