Gov. Abbott signs 'pastor protection' bill into law - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Gov. Abbott signs 'pastor protection' bill into law

Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a "pastor protection" law that comes ahead of an impending U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

Abbott said Thursday he was proud to sign the bill, which allows clergy members to refuse officiating marriages that violate their religious beliefs. Gay rights groups say pastors already have those rights and didn't oppose the measure.

Unlike in other states this year, Texas didn't pass contentious laws aimed at opposing same-sex marriage.

One divisive proposal sought to defy the Supreme Court if gay marriage is legalized this summer. But that effort fizzled and Republicans settled for resolutions that reaffirmed their belief of marriage being between a man and a woman.

Abbott said religious leaders must be secure in knowing that religious freedom is beyond government's reach.

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