To reduce confusion and to ensure our Constitution’s promise of religious freedom, Senator Mark Leno (D – San Francisco) introduced a bill today, sponsored by Equality California and co-sponsored by the California Coalition of Churches IMPACT, that clarifies the role of religious officials in marriage. The bill protects clergy from performing any marriage that is contrary to the tenants of his or her faith and protects their tax-exempt status.
Regardless of party or ideology, every California legislator should support religious freedom. Email your representative and ask them to become a co-author of the Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act.
When this bill is enacted, it will provide incontrovertible evidence that civil marriage for same-sex couples will not impact clergy or the freedom of religion.
Take Action Now and ask your representative to co-author this bill!
This piece of legislation codifies in state law that no member of clergy is required to solemnize a civil marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith or that would infringe on his or her right to freedom of religion as guaranteed by the California Constitution and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The bill also clarifies that civil marriage is a civil contract that requires a state-issued marriage license.
Both the California and U.S. Constitution currently protect religious freedom. However, until such protections are codified under law, there is ambiguity. It is necessary to strengthen these religious protections for clergy through state law to eliminate any uncertainty. The state cannot compel clergy to solemnize any civil marriage.
This bill strengthens the freedom of clergy to make faith-based decisions regarding which marriages they perform.
Please help protect religious freedom by supporting this measure and by becoming a co-sponsor.