‘Pastor Protection’ bill backed by Georgia House panel

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Pastor Protection Act considered by Georgia House.

ATLANTA (AP) – A House panel has approved a bill, known as the “Pastor Protection Act” stating that religious officials don’t have to perform same-sex marriages, a protection some believe is already guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The bill now goes to the full Judiciary committee for consideration. The measure is among at least 8 bills seeking religious exemptions for same-sex marriage objectors.

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But it’s the only bill backed by Speaker David Ralston, the House’s top Republican.

The “Pastor Protection Act” approved by a subcommittee Thursday also would allow religious organizations to prevent its property from being used for purposes “objectionable” to their beliefs.

Gay-rights supporters question that portion of the bill, arguing it could allow churches to limit access to housing, food pantries or other services but still accept taxpayer money through faith-based nonprofits.

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