|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
September 30, 2012
CONTACT: Steve Roth, OutThink Partners
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Governor Brown Signs Legislation to Protect Relgious Freedom in Marriage Solemnization
(Sacramento) Governor Jerry Brown today signed Senate Bill 1140, authored by Senator Mark Leno and co-sponsored by Equality California and California Council of Churches IMPACT. The new law, which will go into effect on January 1, 2013, reaffirms the freedom of clergy to make faith-based decisions regarding which marriages they solemnize and clarifies that those decisions have no bearing on tax-exempt status.
"Some opponents of the freedom to marry have made misleading claims that religious freedom may somehow be infringed upon should same-sex couples be able to legally wed in California,” said Clarissa Fligioun, Equality California board president. "We are glad that Governor Brown has signed this legislation to lay those claims to rest by codifying religious protections that are already guaranteed by the Constitution.”
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution protect the freedom of religion, including the right of clergy not to solemnize marriages that may conflict with their faith. SB 1140 explicitly codifies these constitutional to remove any ambiguity that may be asserted as a reason to oppose marriage equality for all Californians.
To learn more about Equality California-sponsored legislation, visit www.eqca.org/legislation.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 85 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org