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Texas Moves to Protect Clergy Rights Before Gay Marriage Decision

By    |   Friday, 01 May 2015 06:25 PM

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is making a last-minute push for additional protections for clergy and religious groups before the current legislation session is up and before the Supreme Court makes its decision on gay marriage.

Texas Sen. Craig Estes was asked by Patrick to sponsor a measure that would say that clergy, churches and other religious organizations don't have to participate in gay weddings if they don't want to, The Dallas Morning News reports.

The legislative session is up in a month. Twenty-three measures related to same-sex issues have been offered so far, but only three have made it out of committee in the state House.

The bill was rushed to the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee Thursday, which was done by the Senate suspending rules and bill filing deadlines, but Democrats managed to delay a hearing on the measure for 48 hours through a procedural tactic.

The measure comes as the Supreme Court is getting ready to decide whether or not gay marriage should be legal in every state.

However, some say Texas' measure could have unforeseen consequences, such as allowing religious hospitals to deny end-of-life care decisions by a same-sex partner. Opponents also wonder why the measure was presented so last-minute.

"This is a dog whistle to the bigots and the zealots that want to promote their hate and try to mask it as religion," said Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, the Morning News reports.

But Estes said that "no one should be punished for refusing to perform marriages that directly violate their faith."

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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is making a last-minute push for additional protections for clergy and religious groups before the current legislation session is up and before the Supreme Court makes its decision on gay marriage.
texas, clergy, rights, gay, marriage, supreme, court, ruling
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2015-25-01
Friday, 01 May 2015 06:25 PM
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