Pastor Protection Act raises question of necessity - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pastor Protection Act raises question of necessity

Source: WMC Action News 5 Source: WMC Action News 5

As couples across the nation celebrate what some are calling a gay rights victory, some Tennessee lawmakers are proposing new legislation.

The Pastor Protection Act would protect clergy members from being forced to perform same sex marriage ceremonies.

This Act would be an added protection, said Memphis Pastor Dwight Montgomery.

"I have to stand on, stand by God's word," said Montgomery.

Montgomery said he is opposed to discrimination, but does not plan on performing any same sex marriage ceremonies.

He hopes this proposed legislation, being drafted by two lawmakers and supported by Governor Bill Haslam, will put religious leaders at

"To make a person who does not believe in same-sex marriage perform a same-sex marriage would be totally unacceptable," said Montgomery.

But is this Act needed?

According to law professor Steven Mulroy, it's not needed at all, because clergy member’s rights are already protected under the first amendment.

"This does not affect the religious rights of clergy who, based on sincere religious conviction, do not want to perform same sex marriage," Mulroy said.

Whether it is a political move or not, for some pastors, this act is just added reassurance.

"I hope that this bill would pass to give us more clarity and then support," said Montgomery.

Lawmakers are considering holding a special session to discuss this Act and other bills related to same-sex marriage.

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