Under new bill, churches won’t be ‘forced’ to wed gays

Balloons spell out the word "love" over the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. Jacquelyn Martin, AP

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida law will specifically say churches can’t be forced to marry same-sex couples if Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill now headed to his desk.

The Senate passed the bill 23-15 on Thursday. Democrats argued the state and federal constitutions already protect churches and said the bill wasn’t necessary.

Republican Sen. Aaron Bean said his bill is a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that said same-sex marriage is legal. He said the rule turned the world upside down among people who consider marriage to be a sacred institution between a man and a woman.

He said he hopes the bill is never needed.

The House passed the bill (HB 43) on Wednesday. The law will take effect July 1 if Scott signs it.

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