Should churches that refuse to perform gay marriages lose tax exempt status?

After all, “marriage” is a civil right now.

I think they should but I oppose their tax exempt status anyway.

Religious marriage ceremonies against the objections of the church in question are not a civil right.

Churches should lose their tax exempt status period.

Emphatically NOT. You remember those bastards in favor of Prop. 8 claiming that not passing it would lead to churches being “forced” to perform gay marriages against their will, don’t you?

What, do you want to retroactively make them have been telling the TRUTH?

Fuck that.

So long as we’re going to keep the two-step marriage process, though, I think states need to allow anyone to perform a marriage without them pretending to be a minister. Being a minister shouldn’t give you any special entitlement to act on behalf of the state, and you shouldn’t have to get an ordination certificate from a fake online church to get a privilege granted by the state (fake as it may be, it still has to pretend to be a church, so that’s a religious test). I don’t like my state having anything called a “minister license”.

(My solution is to just drop the solemnization step and just add any necessary formalities to the licensing process. When you go to the county building to get your marriage license, that means you’re married. Voila. If you want a ceremony, anybody and everybody can conduct it because it’s legally meaningless. This protects churches from lawsuits, too, because the argument that a church is acting as a delegate of the state when performing marriages is totally gone.)

The Supremes would shoot the OP’s proposal down in flames, surely? The free exercise clause prevents the civil authorities from telling churches what liturgies they are or are not to celebrate, or from penalising them for not conducting their liturgies as the civil authorities wish.


However, they don’t lose their tax exempt status for refusing to perform interracial marriages, so it would be rather inconsistent to do so to them for refusing SSM.

I like how in a couple of states a Notary Public can conduct a marriage.

But back to the OP, hell no, for the reason kaylasdad99 indicated. And it seems people who’d say take their tax status away for this would be most often people who’d want to take it away, period.

But what would transpire when a gay church member with legal standing sues their church for not performing his/her marriage?

Either the church will or won’t perform the marriage. Their tax status should depend on that decision.

It gets dismissed because the church isn’t obligated to perform a wedding for anyone. Even these days there are still churches that refuse to perform interracial marriages; they aren’t legally forced to do so.

Why? Money given to churches is in the form of a donation, i.e., a gift. If I give you a monetary gift, it isn’t taxable (with certain restrictions on the size of the gift). Why should it suddenly become taxable if I give it to a church instead?

Now, if the church is engaging in business operations, say, running a coffee shop or bookstore on the premises, then that would be a different matter, but I’m under the impression that such operations are already taxable anyway.

Should Catholic churches be forced to marry Protestants? Don’t think so.

Same sex couples who want to get married in a church who hates them should have their heads examined though.

No. Churches should not have their arms twisted to perform, recognize, or solemnize interracial, homosexual, or interfaith marriages. Churches that won’t perform interracial marriages today don’t lose their tax-exempt status, and they shouldn’t. Churches that refuse to perform sacred rites for any reason have that right. That’s part of freedom of religion, and it is not the government’s place to tell churches what to do or who to do it to. The government also shouldn’t force Catholics to have female priests or make Jehovah’s witnesses recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I also don’t support government bans on churches handling snakes.

I am in favor of legal gay marriage because that’s a governmental function.

Er… No.

They certainly don’t lose their tax exempt status for refusing to perform interfaith marriages.

Nor for that matter can Jewish or Muslim couples demand to be allowed to be married in St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York.

The answer is people would start laughing at him the same way they would if a member of Touro Synagogue demanded they perform a marriage between him and a gentile.

I don’t know. Churches cannot endorse candidates from the pulpit if they want to remain tax exempt.

It’s my understanding, and a real lawyer can correct me if I’m wrong, but Churches don’t get to be tax exempt just because they are churches. They get to be tax exempt because they are non-profit institutions. Link.

Pretty sure we should not be forcing activities on any church, of any faith, with the exception of forcing compliance with the Constitution.

Since marriage is not a ‘right’ enumerated in the Constitution and is basically a civil function, no church can or should be required to perform weddings of any kind.

Such a law would be unconstitutional. It’s a long established legal principle that religious organizations are immune from some forms of taxation based on the free exercise of religion clause in the First Amendment. Withdrawing that tax exemption would be infringing on the free exercise of religion. Requiring churches to perform gay marriages would be the government imposing a religious standard.

You’d also have to address the issue of why you’re requiring churches to perform gay marriages in order to qualify for tax exemption. Plenty of other organizations also qualify for 501©(3) tax exempt status. Are you going to require animal shelters and literacy volunteers and youth hockey teams to perform gay marriages?

I say we go for it! :smiley:

Awesome point, by the way.

I agree, it would be unconstitutional, but the Constitution doesn’t seem to bother the federal government much these days.

In times of old, the Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, did not allow blacks to become members of their priesthood. In the late 1970’s, changes were set in motion that would have taken away the tax exempt status of any church that still barred blacks. The issue never came before the courts, as fas as I know. The LDS Church got a revelation from God telling them to admit blacks rights before they lost their tax exemption.