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Action Alert! Tell your State Representative to Support the Pastor Protection Act
   Monday, February 27, 2017   at   1:22 PM

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 decision.

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 has responded 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. Click here 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 wedding venue.

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.

Click here to ask your state representative to support the Pastor Protection Act.

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