Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: April 22, 2015
Sen. Dan Newberry
Sen. Anthony Sykes
Measures to protect religious liberty clear
final legislative hurdles
Sykes and Dan
Newberry Wednesday said the Legislature has acted to protect
religious liberty with the passage of Senate Bill 788 and House
Bill 1007. Authored by Newberry, SB 788 would prevent any church
or clergyman from being required to solemnize a marriage in violation
of his or her right to the free exercise of religion as protected
under the First Amendment.
Newberry said the passage of SB 788 marked an important victory
for clergy members.
“This legislation will ensure that clergy members are not
forced to act in violation of their religious beliefs or conscience,”
said Newberry, R-Tulsa. “Given the decision of the Supreme
Court not to take up our appeal of a lower court’s ruling
on our ban on same-sex marriage, it was critical that the Legislature
take action this session to defend religious liberty. With the passage
of these two bills, we have fulfilled our promise to protect religious
liberty in Oklahoma.”
Sykes, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, praised passage
of the measures, saying the Legislature has taken strong action
to protect members of the clergy. Both bills were heard in the Senate
“The Senate remains dedicated to supporting and defending
the rights of clergy members,” said Sykes, R-Moore. “Senate
Bill 788 and House Bill 1007 provide meaningful protections and
affirm our commitment to defending religious liberty.”
Rap. David Brumbaugh, author of HB 1007, said the measures were
critical for protecting clergy members.
“HB 1007 precludes pastors or religious officials from violating
their conscience or religious beliefs to solemnize or recognize
a marriage that violates their beliefs. With 66 lawsuits nationwide
pastors are rightfully concerned about civil claims or cause of
action for public accommodation.”
Rep. John Echols, House sponsor of SB 788, said he was pleased
by the approval of both measures.
“The passage of these laws sends a clear message that the
Legislature has acted to protect religious liberty. I am pleased
we were able to pass legislation to implement meaningful protections
for members of the clergy.
The House of Representative approved SB 788 by a vote of 87-8.
House Bill 1007 includes language similar to SB 788 and was approved
in the Senate by a vote of 38-5.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sykes: (405) 521-5569
Sen. Newberry: (405) 521-5600