AUSTIN — The Texas Senate on Monday tentatively approved a bill to protect pastors and churches from being sued for refusing to perform same-sex marriage.
By a vote of 21-10, the upper chamber approved Senate Bill 2065 that had been blasted by activists as another way to thwart gay marriage in Texas — marriage that currently is prohibited by the state constitution.
Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, said the measure is designed only to protect from lawsuits pastors, churches and related organizations that refuse to perform marriages that are against their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
“It’s designed to keep ministers out of the courthouse. That’s all,” Estes said. “It’s not my intent to discriminate against anyone with this bill. My intent is to protect pastors.”