California Passes Unnecessary Law with No Fanfare

The state of California recently passed a law — SB1140 — that explicitly states clergy are not required to perform homosexual ceremonies.  The law is naturally intended to protect those who might have faced attacks — potentially through equal opportunity or even IRS channels — against religious leaders who act on their faith in opposition to homosexuality:

A person…shall not be required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith. Any refusal to solemnize a marriage…shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any entity.

Notably, no law required clergy to act against their faith.  The law was a preemptive measure to protect religious freedom — and not from one of the more conservative state governments.  Homosexual activists were even “glad” that Governor Jerry Brown “codif[ied] religious protections.”

Interestingly, homosexual advocates and their allies have opposed efforts to do precisely the same thing for US troops.  They claim it is unnecessary.

Via the Religion Clause.


  • Note that the new California law does not have a clause forbidding the use of state property for same-sex union ceremonies, so this is not “precisely the same thing” as the “Military Religious Freedom Act” at all.

  • @Alex
    You are reading things into the argument that are not there.

    The California conscience clause is precisely the same protection of clergy that has been advocated for in the military.

  • The link you post above contains this: “The bill also would prohibit the use of any Department of Defense facility for any “marriage or marriage-like ceremony” for a same-sex couple.”

    There is no equivalent clause in the California law. This explains why there was no opposition to it from gay activists.

  • The really interesting question about this bill is why did so many Christian groups oppose it? The Catholics for Common Good opposed it; a Presbyterian pastor from “Defend Christians” opposed it, calling it “unnecessary”; and most conservative Republicans in the legislature voted against it.

    If this law is, as you say, unnecessary, then why did so many conservative Christians object to it?

  • @Alex

    This explains why there was no opposition to it from gay activists.

    Your statement is rather broad and categorical, two things which rarely fit well together. You also fail to acknowledge that the HRC, as one example, opposes a conscience clause for military chaplains irrespective of any other issue.

    …why did so many Christian groups oppose it?

    Again, you make a sweeping categorization. Besides, you don’t have to wonder. Just read what they said, and again here.

    You’re gradually getting closer to the more complete understanding. Simple question: Did this bill only provide for the protection of religious freedom?

  • You are confused Alex. You see, the bill regarding US troops only bans things that JD has declared are not religious. As such, it has no infringement at all on religious freedom. And so it is exactly equivalent to the California Bill.