HOUSE VERSION OF RELIGIOUS REFUSAL BILL PASSES SENATE

HB 773, twin of SB 41, heads to governor’s desk on party-line vote

RICHMOND — This afternoon, the Virginia Senate voted along party lnes to approve Del. Todd Gilbert‘s (R - Shenandoah) HB 773, which would entitle religious organizations and affiliated businesses to refuse to provide services or goods in connection with a marriage solemnization “if the action would cause the [actor] to violate a sincerely held religious belief.” The bill would also allow public officials to refuse to solemnize marriages based on personal religious objections.
 
Said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D - Alexandria), “This bill sanctions discrimination. Allowing religious officials to marry only those they choose is one thing. Allowing civil celebrants to discriminate in which marriages they solemnize is troubling, contrary to the law of the land, and unconstitutional.”
 
Said Sen. John Edwards (D - Roanoke), “This bill would allow those performing civil marriages to discriminate, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, by denying equality in marriage. No one is forcing clergy to solemnize marriages in violation of their religious beliefs in a religious ceremony. But Virginia should not put on the books any law that seeks to deny the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding marriage equality.”

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