Leno’s legislation is sponsored by the California Council of Churches, IMPACT a nd Equality California, which was the main group opposing Prop. 8.....Equality CA urges Californians to write your state legislators in support. I agree!
"We strong support religious freedom and the rights of clergy to only solemnize weddings they want to solemnize," [Geoff]Kors, [director of EQCA] says. The bill would not apply to government employees who perform weddings, who would have to treat gay and straight couples the same. It would also protect the rights of churches to reserve church facilities for their own members [as long as they don't rent them to the general public].
"As we know from the Yes on 8 Campaign and what we’re seeing in the federal trial, many people and a lot of the right-wing groups we’re up against have lied to Californians about who has to marry people and how clergy might be arrested and churches might lose their tax-exempt status," said Geoff Kors.
The anti-equality guys have claimed this is one of their big concerns. Even though they already have the protections, let's call them on it. Take this excuse away. Call or write your state senator and urge them to sponsor this bill. Keep a bright line between civil and religious unions.
This piece of legislation codifies in state law that no member of clergy is required to solemnize a civil marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith or that would infringe on his or her right to freedom of religion as guaranteed by the California Constitution and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The bill also clarifies that civil marriage is a civil contract that requires a state-issued marriage license.
Both the California and U.S. Constitution currently protect religious freedom. However, until such protections are codified under law, there is ambiguity. It is necessary to strengthen these religious protections for clergy through state law to eliminate any uncertainty. The state cannot compel clergy to solemnize any civil marriage.