By Margaret Mitschke*
This blog is part of our 60 Laws in 60 Minutes update to the SHSU community.
During the 84th session of the Texas Legislature, Senate Bill 2065 was passed. This bill relates to the rights of certain religious organizations and individuals, and relates to a marriage that violates a sincerely held religious belief. This bill went into effect immediately after being passed.
SB 2065 states that religious organizations are not required to solemnize any marriage, provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges, formation, or celebration of any marriage if the action violates the organization’s sincerely held religious belief. This also extends to an organization supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, an individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of employment, or a clergy or minister. The refusal to deny these services cannot be used as basis for a civil or criminal cause of action. The refusal also cannot be a cause for the state to penalize or withhold benefits, privileges, tax exemptions, governmental contracts, grants, or licenses from the individual or organization.