Bill allowing clergy to deny marriages advances in La. House

A lawmaker's proposal aimed at protecting clergy and churches from being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies will advance to the full Louisiana House for debate.

Rep. Mike Johnson, a Bossier City Republican, says the "Pastor Protection Act" is limited in scope, meant to protect clergy, churches and religious organization from violating a "sincerely held religious belief" in ceremonies they perform or host.

He says no other groups could deny services under his bill.

The House civil law committee voted 7-3 Tuesday to send the measure to the House floor.

Opponents say the proposal is discriminatory, unnecessary and may harm Louisiana's economy.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, supports the bill in its current form. Johnson says he'll oppose any attempt to widen its reach.


House Bill 597: