State Rep. Scott Plakon is seeking to protect religious organizations from legal action for refusing to perform ceremonies that “violate sincerely held religious beliefs.”
On Tuesday, Plankton filed House Bill 43 for the 2016 Regular Session. Known as the “Pastor Protection Act,” it would keep churches and related organizations from being forced to carry out same-sex marriages.
Plakon, a Longwood Republican, mentioned the bill this year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages in all 50 states. Previously he said the measure is “common sense and will provide comfort” to religious leaders in the area who said they would need such protection.
HB 43 “provides that churches or religious organizations, related organizations, or certain individuals may not be required to solemnize any marriage or provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for related purposes if such action would violate sincerely held religious belief; prohibits certain legal actions, penalties, or governmental sanctions against such individuals or entities.”
Opponents say the bill is “redundant,” since similar protections are already in place.
Florida’s “Pastor Protection Act” would be similar to a Texas bill recently signed into in law.