State Politics

Republicans pushing for passage of Texas ‘religious freedom’ bill

Opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, march past the Indiana Statehouse en route to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4, 2015 to push for a state law that specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, march past the Indiana Statehouse en route to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4, 2015 to push for a state law that specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler) AP

Texas Republicans are abruptly pushing a new religious objection measure after the U.S. Supreme Court heard historic arguments over same-sex marriage.

Republican state Sen. Craig Estes’ bill would excuse clergy members from officiating marriages that violate their beliefs. Although he insists the timing is coincidental, he noted that the issue was raised by Justice Antonin Scalia this week.

Democrats are balking over both the bill’s content and the fact it was introduced long after filing deadlines in the Texas Senate had passed.

A hearing scheduled for Thursday was temporarily delayed after Democrats objected to the short notice.

Some gay rights activists have felt that backlash over religious objection measures in Indiana and Arkansas had been largely stalling divisive measures in Texas until now.

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