Though a new California law appears to give some protection for
preachers, a former Presbyterian minister contends it may actually
be a trick that could hurt them down the road.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed legislation that affirms clergy
will not endanger their institution's non-profit status if they do
not perform "gay weddings." Senator Mark Leno's (D-San Francisco)
SB 1140 changes the definition of a marriage to a "personal
relation arising out of a civil and not religious contract."
But Dr. Gary Cass of DefendChristians.org asserts the law is
"This becomes a very worrisome precedent. I don't need the state
of California affirming rights that I already have, as if they've
granted it to me," Cass submits. "I have those rights under the
First Amendment, and I cannot be forced to perform any kind of
ceremony -- and I didn't need the state of California to tell me
that I have that right."
Pro-family groups are concerned that SB 1140 will eventually
pave the way for same-sex "marriage" in the state.
"This law looks like it's intended to give cover to a judge who
might rule in favor of same-sex marriage so that they can say,
Look -- there is no imposition on the clergy to perform
these; it's even in the law of the state of California. Therefore,
we can go ahead and pass same-sex marriage in the state of
California, contrary to the will of the people,'" the
conservative advocate warns.
The bill is supported by the state's largest homosexual-rights
group, Equality California, and will take effect January 1.
The list of pastors willing to challenge the Internal Revenue
Service's rules for maintaining tax-exempt status is growing in
advance of Pulpit Freedom Sunday this weekend.