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Alabama’s only gay legislator votes against a ‘religious freedom’ bill

Alabama’s only gay legislator votes against a ‘religious freedom’ bill

Patricia Todd, Alabama’s first out elected official, is confused why her colleagues support a ‘religious freedom’ bill that offers protection that is currently law.

This past week the Alabama House passed House Bill 56, also called the Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act.

The legislation gives probate judges and pastors the right to refuse officiating a marriage ceremony for same-sex couples.

The vote, as reported by Yahoo News, was 69 to 25.

Representative Jim Hill. one of the bill’s sponsors, said the proposal was appropriate because religious leaders are worried about being forced, by law, to oversee LGBTI weddings.

Todd countered probate judges and pastors are currently protected from officiating ceremonies that run counter to their religious beliefs.

‘Alabama isn’t exactly the most progressive state in the country,’ she said to Yahoo News.

‘We are constantly the laughingstock of the country, and this continues that tradition,’ she continued.

The Democrat added the bill’s supporters just want to offer political red meat to voters.

‘The reality is this was just pandering to their constituents so they could say they stood up on same-sex marriage when it didn’t do anything,’ Todd said.

Although District Judge Callie Granade ruled the state’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional,  marriage equality is on hold because the state’s Supreme Court ordered probate judges, the officials in charge of marriage licenses, not to issues certificates to same-sex couples.

Earlier this month, when HB56 passed the House Judiciary Committee, the Human Rights Campaign said the ‘the bill’s foundation is rooted in a motivation to discriminate.’

The legislation now moves to the state Senate.