Will Same-Sex Ruling Affect Tax Status, Religious Rights?
A few weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country. Now that that has happened, there are religious organizations that fear they will be compelled to change their view of the institution of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
At stake for many is the definition of liberty and religious rights. For others, it is the constitutional separation of church and state.
We’ve already heard religious leaders, pastors, ministers, etc. who fear they will be forced by the government to perform same-sex marriages in their churches. It appears these worries are unfounded, as there is no indication that churches will have to officiate same-sex weddings.
Schools, however, are a different matter. There are several private, religious universities and colleges that do not allow sex outside of a marriage between husband and wife. These rules apply to both faculty and students.
While at least one school has announced it will begin extending benefits to same-sex couples, another, according to NPR, will not be doing so. Does that mean this school is being discriminatory? Could their policy be seen as non-inclusion by the government and lead to any penalties?
How much are religious schools such as these protected by the First Amendment? More than 30 years ago, Bob Jones University was denied tax-exempt status by the federal government because it forbade interracial dating. It’s probably safe to say that no school would be comfortable with such a policy today, but that case in 1983 set a precedent.
In another 30 years could schools be in the government’s crosshairs for a policies that prohibiting same-sex marriage, or even dating? Some experts believe that if schools want to remain true to their beliefs, they simply need to give up their special tax-code status.