Thursday, March 3, 2016

'Pastor Protection Act' passes Florida Legislature

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 4:32 PM

click image PHOTO BY CITY OF ST. PETE VIA FLICKR
The Florida Legislature advanced a bill to Gov. Rick Scott's office Thursday that would legally protect churches from having to officiate same-sex marriages.

The so-called "Pastor Protection Act" passed 23-15 in the Florida Senate, according to the Tampa Bay Times. As we've explained before, the bill's purpose is questionable. The First Amendment already "prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion." But as the bill's sponsor Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, explains, it's not "reactionary, just an "extra layer of protection" for clergy afraid of compulsion into the Gay Agenda™. 

The Times reports gay-rights groups did reach a compromise with lawmakers to limit the scope of the bill. Carlos Guillermo Smith, manager of Equality Florida’s Governmental Affairs, says in a statement

“The most important agreement in these negotiations has been the firm commitment of the bill sponsors and legislative leadership that this bill will not be expanded to legalize discrimination in the ways we’ve seen unfold in other states. More than that, they agreed to amend the current bill to alleviate some of our previous concerns that vague or overly broad language might be used to hurt LGBT families. While we still believe this bill is an unnecessary duplication of existing law, we are pleased Florida will not go down the path of Georgia, where an expanded ‘pastor protection’ bill would allow LGBT people and others to be refused goods and services.”

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