Pastors Terrified Of Lawsuits Over Not Performing Gay Weddings

Dusten Carlson

Some religious leaders are terrified of facing lawsuits for choosing to not perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Fearing they'll become targets in hate-crime lawsuits, some conservative church leaders are even rewriting their bylaws to prevent homosexuals from using their facilities.

"It's just a matter of time," said Joe Carr, the pastor of Waynesville Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. "What's happening in Europe – we're going to see happen here and we're going to see it happen sooner rather than later I'm afraid."

Carr believes that changing his church's bylaws will shield them from being targeted by such lawsuits.

"We needed to have a clear statement," Carr told Fox News. "It's to protect us from being forced to allow someone to use our facilities who does not believe what we believe the Bible teaches."

Though recent Supreme Court decisions have changed the landscape in America as to what constitutes a legally-recognized marriage, at least one expert believes that conservative churches are being a bit to hasty in acting on their fears.

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said that religious institutions are already protected by law from such targeting.

"The U.S. Constitution already guarantees the right of churches to decide which sacraments they wish to perform and whom they want to include in these rituals, including weddings," he said. "So these additions to church constitutions are unnecessary."

Still, Carr and many like him are preparing for an attack on religious liberty.

"I believe pastors will be charged with hate crimes and promoting violence against homosexuality by just preaching what the Bible teaches," he said. "I don't believe they are going to pass any legislation protecting pastors."

While Carr says that he does not support violence against any individual or group of individuals based on thing like sexual orientation, he's "not going to back away from preaching what the Bible teaches."

What do you think? Should churches be open to lawsuits for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?

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