Oklahoma bill would allow ministers to refuse to officiate same-sex marriages


OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill that would allow Oklahoma ministers to be immune from civil liability for refusing to officiate a same-sex marriage has cleared a House committee.

OklahomaThe bill by Broken Arrow Republican Rep. David Brumbaugh passed the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday with a 7-2 vote. It now heads to the full House for consideration.

The bill states licensed ministers shall be immune from any civil claim based on their refusal to recognize any marriage that violates the minister’s “conscience or religious beliefs.”

The measure is one of several that has been targeted by gay rights groups as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Brumbaugh says pastors from his district requested the bill after a federal court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Oklahoma.

Gay rights advocates say the bill is unnecessary, as religious institutions are already protected under federal law from having to solemnize same-sex unions, and that no religion would be forced to marry same-sex couples, or recognize same-sex marriages.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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