During oral arguments before the Supreme Court on whether same-sex marriage should be a “right,” the Obama administration admitted that religious schools teaching marriage as the union of one man and one woman could lose their tax-exempt status as a non-profit if the high court redefines marriage.
As marriage and religious liberty expert at the Heritage Foundation Ryan Anderson observed, when Justice Samuel Alito asked the Obama administration’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether a religious school could lose its tax-exempt status if it affirms marriage as the union between a man and woman, Verrilli responded, “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue.”
Anderson related this discussion to Justice Antonin Scalia’s concern about the effects of a Supreme Court-created constitutional right to same-sex marriage on religious liberty. Verrilli responded that there have been no violations against religious liberty in states that have redefined marriage in democratic fashion. Scalia observed, “They are laws. They are not constitutional requirements. That was the whole point of my question. If you let the states do it, you can make an exception. … You can’t do that once it is a constitutional proscription.”
“Not only is there nothing in the Constitution that requires the redefinition of marriage, but a ruling saying that there was could create unimaginable religious liberty violations,” writes Anderson. “These situations are best handled democratically.”
Similarly, as Joel Gehrke at National Review noted, Chief Justice John Roberts asked Verrilli, “Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?”
Though Verrilli attempted to defer to the states on the issue, Roberts pressed him on the overwhelming significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“There is no federal law now generally banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that’s where those issues are going to have to be worked out,” Roberts said.
In an email statement to Breitbart News, Hans Bader, senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the idea that gay marriage is mandated by the Constitution is “undoubtedly at odds with the intent of the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment, and at odds with their original public meaning.”
“Forcing private institutions to recognize and approve of it would be a much more radical step still,” he added.