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New Bill Would Let Pastors Refuse To Perform Gay Marriages

A state legislative panel is poised to hear from opponents of a bill that would let Ohio's churches and pastors refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

Under the so-called Pastor Protection Act, no clergy could be required to solemnize a marriage or have their church property be used to host a ceremony that's against their religious beliefs.

The proposal was introduced in the Ohio House three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision allowing same-sex marriage last year.

The bill's sponsor, Nino Vitale, an Urbana Republican, has said the proposal isn't an issue of discrimination, but about protecting pastors.

The House Community and Family Advancement Committee planned to hear from the bill's opponents on Thursday.

More than 20 people spoke in favor of the bill during a February hearing.