Rep. Jason Petrie

HB 372 The Pastor, Church and School Protection Act is about protecting pastors but not just pastors. The legislation also covers religious institutions (churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.) and religious schools along with their employees.

HB 372 states that the government may not discriminate against or penalize any religious organization because of its sincerely held religious belief about marriage between two adults.  Therefore, if a religious organization believes marriage may be between two members of the same sex or if a religious organization believes marriage is only between two members of the opposite sex they will be treated the same by the government.

The government will essentially “stay out of the marriage business” and “tolerate” both views.  This bill is about true tolerance. This bill is basically a “shield to protect” not a weapon to be used against anyone.

Legislation protecting pastors, churches, and religious organizations from participating in a wedding ceremony that is against their religious beliefs passed with bipartisan support in Texas (2015).  That bill has not been challenged.  A bill protecting all individuals and organizations operating in any capacity passed in Mississippi (2016).  That law was challenged, but the court ruled that the challengers lacked standing. The law will likely be challenged again.