NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 26, 2015— On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of gay marriage. In reaction to that decision, Tennessee State Representative Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) announced that he is working to draft the “Tennessee Pastor Protection Act” along with State Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) as the primary co-sponsor and Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) as a co-sponsor.
“The Supreme Court has trampled states’ rights today. Their constitutional authority is to “opine”, and they were never intended to be the Supreme law of the land,” said Butt. “A Court decision will never change our religious beliefs, and we will continue to fight for our religious freedom. Do not give up, fear, or become overwhelmed by a mere government. We will continue the fight.”
Terry went on to say that the Supreme Court ruling could have far reaching implications on religious liberties.
“It comes as no surprise that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage. I have had multiple constituents concerned with how the ruling may impact their church and their religious beliefs. If the issue is truly about equality of civil liberties and benefits, then this ruling should have minimal legal impact on churches,” said Terry. “However, if the issue and the cause is about redefining marriage to require others to change their deeply held religious beliefs, then the concerns of many will be valid.”
The bill will be designed to protect all religious clergy from performing same sex marriages, as well as, providing legal protection from being forced to perform same sex marriages on church property.
“To my friends of faith, to those who endear the principles of social conservatism, and to those who ascribe to the original intent of the Tenth Amendment, we must never give up,” declared Holt. “The Court has made it clear that they have no intention to uphold the principles of separation of power. It’s more important now than ever that we stand and resist the abuse of our own government and that is exactly what I plan to do by lobbying for the Pastor Protection Act with Rep. Terry.”
Holt says he has no plans to recognize the Court’s ruling as being valid. “God is the ultimate Supreme Court and he has spoken. Marriage is between one man, and one woman,” said Holt.
Terry worries that the ruling will set off a chain reaction in judicial activism.
“The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Article 1 Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution states that personal freedom of religion is protected and that no human authority can interfere in the rights of conscience,” noted Terry. “Under normal circumstances, I would expect the Court to honor the Constitution of the United States and Tennessee, but, as recently confirmed by activist judges, we no longer are under normal circumstances.”