South Dakota Lawmakers Reject Clergy Rights Bill


Lawmakers in South Dakota have rejected a measure that would have protected clergy and religious groups who oppose gay marriage.

Opponents said the state Constitution already exempts pastors who don't want to perform same-sex weddings. The South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee agreed and decided to kill the bill.

But supporters of the legislation are concerned about what will happen if the courts strike down the state's ban on gay marriages.

The measure's main sponsor, state Sen. Ernie Otten, said he plans to withdraw a companion bill that would have given protection to businesses that refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings.

Christian-owned businesses in other states have been sued for not providing services for homosexual weddings.

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