Governor Haslam supports protections for pastors

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Governor Bill Haslam took a moment out of his Memphis visit Monday to discuss the Supreme Court's same sex marriage ruling and legislators' calls for protections for pastors.

"I actually think it`s very important for pastors to have that protection," Haslam said.

WREG asked for his opinion on a possible future bill meant to protect pastors who do not want to marry gay people.

Republican Representative Bryan Terry told WREG this bill has been in the works awhile, ahead of the Supreme Court's decision.

He said, "...when two individual liberties aren't necessarily in line, there should be an inherent respect in the law."

State legislators are currently out of session.

Some same sex marriage couples in Tennessee have already gone to the courthouse since the Supreme Court's decision Friday.

Haslam said his understanding of the Supreme Court's decision does not include obligations for pastors or churches.

The Supreme Court's dissenting opinion suggested churches would not be forced to do anything they do not want to.

"In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today's decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter."

"They [pastors] should have the right to act on their deepest beliefs inside their religious traditions," Haslam said.

The governor said he does not agree with the Supreme Court's ruling on same sex marriage, saying he believed this call should have been up to the states.

However, he said Tennessee would abide by the law.

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