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California: Governor Brown Signs Bill Protecting Churches' Religious Rights on Marriage Equality
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1140 (Religious Freedom in Marriage Solemnization), authored by Sen. Mark Leno and co-sponsored by Equality California and California Council of Churches IMPACT. The new law, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, reaffirms the freedom of clergy to make faith-based decisions regarding which marriages they solemnize and clarifies that those decisions have no bearing on tax-exempt status.

"Some opponents of the freedom to marry have made misleading claims that religious freedom may somehow be infringed upon should same-sex couples be able to legally wed in California," said Clarissa Fligioun, Equality California board president. "We are glad that Gov. Brown has signed this legislation to lay those claims to rest by codifying religious protections that are already guaranteed by the Constitution."

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution protect the freedom of religion, including the right of clergy not to solemnize marriages that may conflict with their faith. SB 1140 explicitly codifies these constitutional amendments to remove any ambiguity that may be asserted as a reason to oppose marriage equality for all Californians.

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Published on:  October 1, 2012


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