Calif bill protects clergy opposed to gay marriage - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Calif bill protects clergy opposed to gay marriage

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Clergy who refuse to sanction same-sex marriages would be protected under a bill sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk by the state Senate.

Sen. Mark Leno's bill, approved 22-11 Wednesday, could become necessary if a federal appeals court upholds a judge's ruling this month striking down Proposition 8, the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban.

The bill says religious institutions from faiths that object to same-sex unions could not be stripped of their tax-exempt status if their clergy refuse to perform weddings for gay couples.

Leno, a gay Democrat from San Francisco, defended the measure when it was opposed by Sen. Roy Ashburn, an openly gay Republican from Bakersfield.

Ashburn objected that the bill defines same-sex marriages as civil relationships, which he says puts them in a lesser class than heterosexual marriages.

 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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