AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate has voted overwhelmingly to allow clergy members to refuse performing marriages that violate their religious beliefs.
The bill requires a final Senate vote before heading to the state House.
Democrats quickly pointed out that existing constitutional guarantees separating church and state already allow houses of worship to set their own religious policies regarding marriage ceremonies.
The Texas proposal is less divisive, largely restating existing law.
Still, it follows the nation’s high court hearing arguments about the constitutionality of gay marriage.
Article continues belowOn Tuesday, the state House is scheduled to vote on two hot-button anti-LGBT measures. The most-watched proposal (HB 4105) would bar state, county and local officials from issuing or enforcing a same-sex marriage license, and prevent recognition of gay marriages performed in other states.
The other is a religious objections bill that could give Texas a taste of the uproar similar measures caused when legislatures approved them recently in Indiana and Arkansas.
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