TCC members authored and passed an important bill regarding a core constitutional right: Senate Bill 2065 protects the fundamental First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Under the bill (which is now effective), a religious organization or an individual employed by a religious organization, or a clergy member/minister, may not be required to solemnize any marriage or provide services related to marriage if the action would cause the organization or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief. Current sustained assaults nationwide on religious freedom and conscience indicate that religious liberty is in danger of becoming a “second-class right . . . one that can be easily overridden by other rights, claims and interests.”[i]
The billsafeguards religious liberty by protecting clergy and employees of religious organizations from claims of homosexual discrimination in the event they choose, as required by the tenets of their faith, not to recognize same-sex “marriages.” The protection is one small effort at ensuring that religion is not further marginalized from the public square and that the moral culture that undergirds and nourishes democracy is further protected, especially in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
[i] Mary Ann Glendon, “First of Freedoms?”, America, March 5, 2012, available online at http://americamagazine.org/issue/5131/article/first-freedoms.