Virginia Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Religious Institutions Opposed to Gay Marriage

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Virginia Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Religious Institutions Opposed to Gay Marriage
The Virginia Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would protect the rights of religious institutions to operate in accordance with their religious beliefs on marriage without fear of government backlash.

The legislation, SB 1324, passed with a narrow 21-19 vote along party lines.

The bill, introduced by Republican Sen. Charles Carrico, “provides that no person shall be required to participate in the solemnization of any marriage or subject to any penalty by the Commonwealth, or its political subdivisions or representatives or agents, solely on account of such person’s belief, speech, or action in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”

The measure specifically defines the term “person” to include any religious organization, organizations connected with religious organizations, individuals employed by the religious organization who are acting in the scope of their volunteer or paid duties, any representative or agent of a religious organization and clergy members.

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