The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would protect pastors from legal action if they refuse to officiate same-sex ceremonies. Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) presented S.B. 2065, entitled “Freedom of Religion with Respect to Recognizing or Performing Certain Marriages.” “A religious organization, an organization supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, an individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of that employment, or a clergy or minister may not be required to solemnize any marriage, provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, or celebration of any marriage, or treat any marriage as valid for any purpose if the action would cause the organization or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief,” it reads.
The legislation also prevents faith-based organizations from being sued for declining to directly or indirectly participate in the event.“A refusal to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges [under this law] is not the basis for a civil or criminal cause of action or any other action by this state or a political subdivision of this state to penalize or withhold benefits or privileges, including tax exemptions or governmental contracts, grants, or licenses, from any protected organization or individual,” it states. MORE