WYSO

Talks Underway At Statehouse To 'Protect' Pastors From Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Credit User: Thoth188 / Flickr/Creative Commons

The first piece of legislation related to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the right of same-sex couples to marry is making the rounds at the Ohio Statehouse.

It’s called the “Pastor Protection Act,” to ensure that clergy members aren’t forced to perform ceremonies that go against their religious beliefs. Sponsoring State Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) says it will help supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage get along.

“We have to find a way to live in a secular, tolerant culture, whether you like it or don’t like someone’s lifestyle,” said Vitale. “I don’t want people imposing things, suing each other.” 

But Rev. Tim Ahrens with the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Columbus says there’s no reason for the bill.

“There will be no lawsuit. Someone who is gay will not go to a pastor who does not want to marry them,” Ahrens said. “That’s just crazy.” 

Vitale says his bill is modeled after a Texas law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Similar bills are before lawmakers in Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee.