March 4, 2016
After passing the House on Wednesday, HB 43 (Plakon) achieved final passage in the Senate on Thursday, and is on its way to Governor Scott for his signature. The bill prevents churches or religious organizations - or individuals employed by these entities, including clergy - from being forced to solemnize any marriage or provide services, facilities or goods for related purposes if such action would violate sincerely held religious beliefs.
Religious freedom requires protection due to many uncertainties under the law as a result of last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that redefined marriage to accommodate same-sex couples. While clergy are currently protected from performing marriages to which they object, layers of protection in law can be helpful, especially if they stave off frivolous litigation.