BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A lawmaker's proposal aimed at protecting clergy and churches from being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies will advance to the full Louisiana  House for debate.

Rep. Mike Johnson, a Bossier City Republican, says the "Pastor Protection Act" is limited in scope, meant to protect clergy, churches and religious organization from violating a "sincerely held religious belief" in ceremonies they perform or host.

He says no other groups could deny services under his bill.

The House civil law committee voted 7-3 Tuesday to send the measure to the House floor.

Opponents say the proposal is discriminatory, unnecessary and may harm Louisiana's  economy.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, supports the bill in its current form. Johnson says he'll oppose any attempt to widen its reach.


House Bill 597:

Here's how the other committee members voted:

VOTING FOR THE BILL: Reps. Greg Cromer, R-Slidell; Julie Emerson, R-Carencro; Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City; Tanner Magee, R-Houma; Greg Miller, R-Norco; Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales; and Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport.

VOTING AGAINST THE BILL: Reps. Robby Carter, D-Greensburg; Randal Gaines, D-LaPlace; and Sam Jenkins, D-Shreveport.


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