Ben Johnson contributed to this report.
OKLAHOMA CITY, May 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn the millennia-long definition of marriage, Oklahoma clergy will not have to be concerned that they will be forced to perform such ceremonies.
On May 1, Governor Mary Fallin signed a law that would allow ministers to exercise their religious beliefs on marriage and decline to “wed” same-sex couples.
Governor Fallin's office said in a press release that H.B. 1007 is “a bill protecting religious leaders from being compelled to perform marriages that are in direct contradiction to their religious beliefs.”
The law says that “no regularly licensed, ordained, or authorized official of any religious organization shall be required to solemnize or recognize any marriage that violates the official's conscience or religious beliefs.”
Unlike other governors, the Oklahoma Republican did not back down from the potential controversy that could surround her signature of H.B. 1007.
“This bill makes it clear that the government can never compel our religious leaders or houses of worship to act in violation of their faith where marriage is concerned,” Fallin said. “I am proud to join our legislature in taking a strong stand in defense of religious liberty and the freedoms awarded to all American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.”
The bill is similar to one passed by the Texas Senate last week, the “Pastor Protection Act.” The bill, which is being considered by the House, has enraged some LGBT activists.
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The Texas Freedom Network, which says its mission is “to counter the Religious Right,” said the bill would give religiously affiliated entities the “authority to discriminate against almost any Texas family.”
The bill's supporters say they are simply trying to guarantee conscience rights, which even the Obama administration's Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, has admitted could be imperiled by a Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage.