The Florida Senate on Thursday passed a
bill that protects churches from being forced to marry gay and
The so-called “Pastor Protection Act”
cleared the Republican-led Senate with a 23-15 vote. The bill
cleared the House on Wednesday.
The bill's sponsor, Representative
Scott Plakon, a Republican from Longwood, has as much as admitted
that his legislation serves no real purpose, saying that it's not
“reactionary” but an “extra layer of protection” for clergy
opposed to marrying gay couples.
Opponents of the bill point out that
clergy are currently protected under the First Amendment.
Rep. David Richardson, a Democrat from
Miami Beach and the Legislature's only openly gay member, described
the legislation as “an insult to the gay community.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times,
Governor Rick Scott plans to sign the bill into law.