Michigan lawmaker introduces bills requiring religious leaders to perform all marriage ceremonies

A Michigan state lawmaker has introduced a set of bills he says would “end the state’s involvement in marriage.”

Rep. Todd Courser, a Republican from Lapeer, Mich., introduced House Bills 4731, 4732 and 4733 on June 18. Together, the bills ban public officials, including judges, from performing marriage ceremonies so that only religious leaders can perform a marriage ceremony.

The state would still issue marriage licenses to couples, but an ordained religious leader would be required to perform a wedding ceremony and sign the license before it can be approved by the state.

Courser authored and introduced the legislation ahead of a decision expected from the Supreme Court of the United States weighing same-sex marriage, according to both a news release on the Michigan House Republicans website and a blog post on Courser’s personal website.

“If this legislation becomes law it will protect our public officials from having to perform same-sex marriages and put the marriage licensing business back in the position of being in the realm of the churches and religious leaders,” Courser wrote in the blog

Courser also wrote that he “asked for drafting of a bill to protect pastors from being forced to perform gay marriages as well.”

Depending on the decision by the Supreme Court, Courser said he may withdraw the bills.

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