ATLANTA — The state House of Representatives has passed the Pastor Protection Act, a measure that assures clergy that they will not be required to perform any marriage, such as gay marriage, which violates their faith, proponents say.
“The Pastor Protection Act is a simple reaffirmation of our bedrock principle of separation of church and state,” state Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, said in a news release. “It makes clear that Georgia respects and honors the sacred oaths taken by our pastors, priests, rabbis and other clergy and that government has no intention of asking them to violate those oaths.”
The Pastor Protection Act, officially House Bill 757, is modeled on similar legislation in several other states, reaffirms the separation of church and state in Georgia. Businesses are also protected from any ordinance which might require them to be open on a day of rest (Saturday or Sunday).
“This bill addresses real concerns that came from citizens across this state, including many in my district,” state Rep. David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said in a news release. “I thank Representative Tanner for his fine work in seeing this bill through to passage and for doing it the right way – by listening to and working with those who had concerns or suggestions.”
With passage in the House of Representatives, the Pastor Protection Act will move to the State Senate for consideration.