On March 10, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill passed by Florida’s Legislature intended to protect churches, religious organizations, clergy, and certain other parties from certain types of liability for refusing to perform a marriage when doing so “would cause the individual or entity to violate a sincerely held religious belief of the individual or entity.”
Persons and entities covered by the new law are:
- A church;
- A religious organization;
- A religious corporation or association;
- A religious fraternal benefit society;
- A religious school or educational institution;
- An integrated auxiliary of a church;
- An individual employed by a church or religious organization while acting in the scope of that employment;
- A clergy member; or
- A minister.
A copy of the law is available by clicking this link. The new law is effective July 1, 2016.
We recommend that organizations for which this law is relevant evaluate its implications under the advice of their legal counsel, taking into consideration the possible applicability of federal law in addition to Florida law.