The start of the erosion of religious liberty emanating from the Supreme Court’s decision that approved same-sex marriage throughout the nation is officially underway. The Washington Post observes that because “real money” is involved in legal marriage, the ruling could cause religious schools that ban homosexual relationships and cohabitation to suffer “in a big way” with the loss of tax-exempt status and accreditation.
“Marriage is a potent symbol, first and foremost, but it also means real money,” wrote Max Ehrenfreund at WaPo Friday. “Same-sex couples pay all kinds of unexpected costs if they can’t marry, and housing and benefits at religious institutions is another example.”
Similarly, in anticipation of the Court’s decision in Obergefell, Laurie Goodstein and Adam Liptak of the New York Times wrote Wednesday:
Conservative religious schools all over the country forbid same-sex relationships, from dating to couples’ living in married-student housing, and they fear they will soon be forced to make a wrenching choice. If the Supreme Court this month finds a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the schools say they will have to abandon their policies that prohibit gay relationships or eventually risk losing their tax-exempt status.
According to the Times, the Internal Revenue Service may feel compelled to remove the tax-exempt status of religious schools if they continue to ban gay relationships and cohabitation “as a violation of a ‘fundamental national public policy’ under the reasoning of a 1983 Supreme Court decision that allowed the agency to revoke the tax-exempt status of schools that banned interracial relationships.”
Such an action would be consistent with the manipulative linguistics of the Left. Just as the pro-abortion industry has usurped the language of “healthcare” to advance its agenda, militant LGBT activists have stolen that of the civil rights movement and racial “equality” in order to push their agenda down the throats of Americans.
Earlier in June, Christian education leaders from around the nation sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch MCConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), expressing their concern for the loss of tax-exempt status should the Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage.
The letter’s signers based their concern on a particular exchange during oral arguments in April:
Justice Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax- exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?
Solicitor General Verrilli: You know, I — I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I — I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is — it is going to be an issue.
Similarly, Chief Justice John Roberts asked, “Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?”
Verrilli responded that it would “depend on how states work out the balance between their civil rights laws.”
“We have to ensure that government never penalizes or discriminates against a citizen or institution that believes that marriage is the union of husband and wife,” Roger Severino, director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, told the National Catholic Register.
Severino warned that individuals and institutions that refuse to recognize same-sex “marriages” could be subject to a series of penalties, including loss of government licenses, grants, contracts, accreditation and tax-exempt status.
“All those areas are at risk because they will be used to exclude religious people and institutions from public life because of their actions being consistent with their views on marriage,” he added.
For those who insist same-sex marriage is only about “equality,” think again.
As Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro observed in March:
Once non-profit status is revoked for churches on the basis of supposed discrimination against homosexuals, those churches become private institutions engaged in commerce. Which means that they are regulated as common businesses under anti-discrimination law. Which means they can be shut down or fined for failure to perform same-sex weddings. The left says this will never happen. Which means we are a few years away from it happening.