Texas House Member Files Religious Freedom Bill To Protect Pastors, Clergy On Marriage
Austin, TX, March 16, 2015 — Late last week, just before the bill filing deadline, Texas House of Representatives member Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) filed a bill (HB 3567) to protect the religious freedom rights of clergy, pastors and churches in Texas as it relates to marriage. The bill ensures that the government may not force a pastor, a clergy member or church to perform a marriage or related ceremony that would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. The bill makes it clear that the government cannot use civil or criminal action as a means of punishment on this issue. Rep. Scott Sanford is the Executive Pastor of Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in McKinney, Texas, just north of Dallas.
Texas Values Action President Jonathan Saenz released the following statement:
“When you have government officials like the Mayor of Houston trying to subpoena pastor sermons that relate to issues of marriage and sexuality, our church leaders start to get very nervous. Now is the time to make it clear in state law that our faith leaders should not be forced by the government to perform marriages and related ceremonies that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. Faith leaders and their flock are at their best when they are free to provide charitable and spiritual guidance and support without the constant threat of lawsuits and intimidation.”
Two men recently filed a legal action to force the Church of England to perform a wedding for them.
About Texas Values Action
Texas Values Action is the 501(c)(4) advocacy arm of Texas Values, a non-profit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvaluesaction.org.