When the United States Supreme Court ruled on June 26th, 2015 that same-sex marriages were to be legally recognized and permitted
in all 50 states, controversy was sure to spring up from coast to coast.
Opposition to the ruling cited not only states’ rights violations
but also possible affronts to religious freedoms. Recently, a group of
pastors in Florida are taking steps to stand against the decision and
make their beliefs known.
Currently called the Pastor Protection Act, the group is drafting and hoping
to pass legislation that would protect religious individuals and institutions
from any federal penalty for refusing to participate in or perform any
same-sex marriage ceremonies. The fear that these clergymen have revolves
around the tax exempt status of their churches. They believe that if they
do not accept same-sex marriages, this status could be revoked in retaliation.
Does the Supreme Court Ruling Directly Address Religious Institutions?
Many people opposed to the proposed Pastor Protection Act claim it is simply
unnecessary. In the Supreme Court’s ruling and statements regarding
their decision, there is no mandate that states religious groups must
perform ceremonies for same-sex couples looking to get married. The law
instead targets government bodies, such as municipal judges, county clerks,
and so on. Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of the justices who ruled in favor
of the decision, stated that they were seeking “equal dignity in
the eyes of the law.”
Still, the Floridian groups seem to be more comfortable with not taking
any chances. After all, it appears that their proposed legislation would
not attempt to make any changes to same-sex marriage law, and would only
serve to ensure their own protection as it is guaranteed in the First
I, Broward County Divorce Attorney Lindsay A. Feldman, have been in practice
for more than a decade. If you live in South Florida and have any legal
concerns regarding family law, including issues revolving around the Supreme
Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage,
contact me today to learn how we can discuss your case and set you off on the right path.