Bill would allow clergy to refuse to marry couples

Capital News Service
LANSING — Some religious leaders are questioning the necessity of a House bill aimed at further protecting their First Amendment rights. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Noble, R-Plymouth, would allow ministers, clerics and other religious practitioners to refuse to marry couples who violate the religious beliefs of the clergy. Noble, who is a minister, declined to be interviewed. Co-sponsor Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, said he feels that the First Amendment already provides these protections to religious leaders, but some legislators want statutory protections to go beyond religious freedom. “I feel that religious institutions have come under assault in the past,” Barrett said.