'Pastor protection' religious objections bill passes House
BATON ROUGE- A proposal to allow clergy and churches to refuse to perform or host same-sex marriage ceremonies has passed the Louisiana House.
Republican Rep. Mike Johnson, of Bossier City, says his bill will protect clergy and religious organizations from being forced to violate a "sincerely held religious belief."
Lawmakers voted 80-18 Tuesday to pass the "Pastor Protection Act," but only after adding a series of amendments, including the exclusion of heterosexual interracial marriages from refusal.
The proposal heads next to the Senate for consideration.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, doesn't oppose Johnson's bill, but says it's not necessary. Constitutional scholars agree, saying First Amendment protections for clergy, worship and what happens inside the sanctuary are not in question.