CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida House Subcommittee on Civil Justice is hearing HB 43, known as the Pastor Protection Act. In a letter urging the members of the committee to vote against the bill, ACLU of Florida Director of Public Policy described the bill as “unnecessary,” and warned that it “diverts scarce legislative resources away from the conversation we should be having about protecting LGBT people from discrimination.”

From the letter:

“Religious freedom is a fundamental American value, which is why it’s protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution. This includes the right of churches and other houses of worship to decide which religious marriages they will host. As a result, houses of worship and clergy already have the freedom to determine which marriages they will and won’t perform in their faith traditions. Allowing same-sex couples to marry doesn’t change that, and neither would defeat of this bill. Even before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex couples had the freedom to marry in over 30 states, and in no instance have clergy been forced to marry a same-sex couple or anyone else against their religious beliefs.”


“The bill suggests that clergy need protection from gay couples, and it distracts from important conversations about protecting gay and transgender people, who continue to experience discrimination.

“It’s time for our state to update our laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination.”

The full letter is available here: