Elsewhere online
June 25, 2015

Faith Schools Fear for Tax Status if Court OKs Gay Marriage

Worries are growing among conservative religious education institutions that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality could force them to accommodate gay couples or lose their tax exemptions, writes The New York Times.

Officials from more than 70 faith-based schools and colleges signed a recent letter to congressional leaders stating that such a finding would put at risk institutions "adhering to traditional religious and moral values."

The court is set to rule this month on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Faith schools fear the court will apply the reasoning of its 1983 Bob Jones University ruling — which allowed the Internal Revenue Service to revoke tax protections for schools that prohibit interracial relationships — to gay couples.

The letter to Congress cites concerns over gay couples' access to married housing, benefits for employees' same-sex spouses, and policies at many schools prohibiting same-sex dating. Justices raised the Bob Jones ruling during April arguments in the marriage-equality case, but legal scholars said it is unlikely, at least in the short term, that the government would tamper with private schools' tax breaks over the issue.