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Bill Allows Ministers to Refuse Gay Marriages

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A bill that would allow Oklahoma ministers to be immune from civil liability for refusing to officiate a same-sex marriage has cleared a House committee.

The bill by Broken Arrow Republican Rep. David Brumbaugh passed the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday with a 7-2 vote. It now heads to the full House for consideration.

The bill states licensed ministers shall be immune from any civil claim based on their refusal to recognize any marriage that violates the minister's "conscience or religious beliefs."

The measure is one of several that has been targeted by gay rights groups as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Brumbaugh says pastors from his district requested the bill after a federal court's decision to legalize gay marriage in Oklahoma.