South Dakota Republicans have introduced two bills which seek to allow clergy, church officials and businesses to refuse to take part in gay marriages and related events.

State Senator Ernie Otten said his bills were necessary in case a court overturns the state's ban on such unions.

The bills would allow clergy and businesses to refuse to perform or supply goods or services to same-sex marriages or receptions because of their religious beliefs.

“It's unconscionable that somebody from the outside would come in and bring a family business to ruin over activism,” Otten told the AP.

The bill's House sponsor, Rep. Steve Hickey, a Republican and a pastor of a Sioux Falls church, said he worried that he could be sued over his religious beliefs.

“Religious rights need to continue to trump gay rights,” Hickey said. “Otherwise, we're heading down the road of Iran, where it's convert or die, be quiet or die. If we want to talk about church and state, this is a bill that keeps the state out of my church.”

Senator Angie Buhl O'Donnell, a Democrat from Sioux Falls, launched a petition against the proposed legislation.

The bill would allow “discriminatory businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community,” O'Donnell's petition reads. “We must stop SB 67 from becoming law.”