First Amendment Overkill Or When Politicians Don’t Know The Law

old photo of a Fiery Preacher

Soon after the US Supreme Court ruled that LGBT couples could be legally married in all 50 states, many political and religious conservatives lost their minds. Some politicians, like Ohio Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) either don’t understand civil rights or they just really hate not being able to be bigots. Vitale wants to pass a law that will protect pastors from having to perform same-sex weddings which is already covered under the 1st amendment.

Four days after the U.S. Supreme Court declared gay marriage constitutional across the country, an Ohio legislator says he wants to protect members of the clergy from possible fallout.

The Pastors Protection Act is needed to safeguard church leaders and property from lawsuits, said state Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana.

“This is not an issue of discrimination,” Vitale said in a release. “It is an issue of protection; protection for those who have committed their lives to the service of God and their community.”

He said similar legislation was approved in Texas with bipartisan support and has passed at least one chamber in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Vitale said the legislation will allow the clergy to exercise religious liberty and only perform ceremonies that are in line with their deeply held religious beliefs. Ohio’s pastors and church organizations should not be forced to violate their conscience, he added.

Legislature’s first response to same-sex marriage ruling: Pastors Protection Act

The 1st amendment already protects pastors from performing weddings that don’t subscribe to their faith. They don’t have to marry divorced couples, interracial couples, or marry people not in good standing with the church. That’s why a bill like this one isn’t needed.

It is simply a way for the bigots to beat their chest and prove their bigotry bonafides for the small percentage of people who agree with them.

Ministers, pastors, and priests aren’t the only people allowed to perform marriages. There are several secular alternatives like Humanist celebrants, anyone registered with a state to solemnize marriages, and judges among others.

It is a shame that a state legislator doesn’t understand how rights work.


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