Clergy Bill Defeated 

(AP) – The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously against the bill following Tuesday’s hearing in the State House.

Committee members said they had received hundreds of e-mails expressing concern about the bill.

Even the sponsor, Democratic Representative Boyd Marley of Portland, acknowledged at the start of the hearing that the bill’s chances of passage were slim at best.

Marley said his bill arose from some clergy members’ concerns about keeping church and state duties separate.

One of those clergymen, Reverend Mark Rustin of Portland, says there’s no need for clergy to be given special civil authority to perform wedding ceremonies.

He says religious and civil roles should be kept separate.

Opponents rejected the notion that clergy members become agents of the state by acting in a dual religious-civil role during weddings.

The Christian Civic League of Maine’s Web site called the bill &quot:a waste of legislative time.&quot: