The religious freedom of Christians and other religious expressions has been under
attack for many years, but never so strongly as it has been since the U.S. Supreme
Court re–defined marriage with its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges
Seemingly all of a sudden the time–worn business maxim "we reserve the right
to refuse service to anyone at any time" became null and void, as activists
and even governments sought to require businesses to perform services even for events
they couldn’t morally support. It’s no wonder churches and other houses of worship
have sought legal assurances that they won’t be required to perform marriages that
conflict with the tenets of their faith.
Ohio Rep. Nino Vitale
with House Bill 36
, known as the
Pastor Protection Act, which is awaiting action in the Ohio House of Representatives.
CMC is a strong supporter of the bill.
to send an email to your state representative, urging his or her support for House Bill 36.
The bill would assure that no ordained or licensed minister or religious society
could be required under Ohio law to perform a marriage ceremony that conflicts with
the minister or organization’s religious beliefs. In addition, the church would
have the right to refuse to rent or host such a marriage in its buildings or on
its property. Ministers and religious societies who exercise their rights under
this bill would be exempt from any civil or criminal proceedings for declining to
perform a wedding, and no government entity in the state would be able to penalize
or withhold any benefit or privilege from a minister or religious society who declines
to perform or host a marriage it cannot support.
The law would also apply to mayors, judges and other officials who are not ordained
ministers, but are licensed to solemnize marriages (
a summary of the bill is available here
Progressives’ obsession with penalizing anyone who would choose not to be involved
with a same–sex wedding hasn’t extended to ordained ministers – yet. But it’s already
affected churches in other states that have declined to rent their property as a
The executive director of the homosexual–activist organization Equality Ohio, has
said in testimony for this bill
and interviews that these sites should be as open to rental from all comers as a
township hall. That’s patently unacceptable to us.
Given the current climate of backlash against men and women of faith, it’s entirely
reasonable for ordained ministers and churches of all faith expressions to want
their First Amendment rights protects. That’s what HB 36 would do, and that’s why
we support it.
HB 36 would not make same–sex marriage illegal in Ohio. It won’t even make it more
difficult for most same–sex couples to marry. But it will assure that ministers
and religious societies will be able to decide what it will and won’t do about the
issue, as it should be. In our view a vote for HB 36 is a vote for religious liberty
and a vote against the bill is a vote against religious liberty.
to ask your state representative to support the Pastor Protection Act.