On Thursday, June 11 Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Pastor Protection Act, saying the bill ensures Texas clergy members cannot be forced to violate their religious beliefs.
Senate Bill 2065, commonly referred to as the pastor protection bill, shields pastors and churches from lawsuits regarding their refusal to perform or host a marriage ceremony.
“Freedom of religion is the most sacred of our rights and our freedom to worship is secured by the Constitution,” said Abbott. “Religious leaders in the State of Texas must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that religious freedom is beyond the reach of government or coercion by the courts.”
Attorney General Ken Paxton participated in the bill signing and released the following statement:
“I applaud Senator Craig Estes and Representative Scott Sanford for their steadfast determination to see this bill passed and ultimately signed into law. It’s a victory for them, the strong people of faith who mobilized for its passage and for the clergy of Texas who will be protected.
“But to be clear, it’s not enough. We now have much more work to do to ensure that all Texans can practice their faith and, among other things, recognize traditional marriage without being punished, harassed or discriminated against for their beliefs.”