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

Animal shelters would be interesting.
“Should anyone here present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.”


I’d be interested in reading anything about this. I’ve never heard this before and I’d be interested in what the legal arguments might have been.

Animal shelters yes. But only between man and dog, since that seems to be what Republicans want in their heart of hearts. They keep talking about it, after all.

You’ve probably never heard it because it’s not true. The IRS did remove the tax exempt status of Bob Jones University for reasons of discrimination. That did have the potential to affect private LDS schools, such as BYU, but not the church itself.

For that reason alone? No. I don’t give two fucks if a church will let me get married there or not, since it’s the legal aspect that matters. I can see other good reasons, but not that one.

Since so damned many churches feel compelled to dictate legislation, they are, in fact, political advocacy organizations.

Prop 8 (CA anti-SSM voter referendum (it passed, incredibly) was heavily financed by the Mormon church. I suspect the usual suspects (RCC, Baptists, Pentecostals, other “Fundamentalist” Protestant churches) were also heavily involved.

Political advocacy groups are not tax-exempt.

My personal guess as to why Prop 8 passed: “De Colores” - the belief among Hispanics especially that all persons of color should be mutually supportive. With a black man running for President, the Hispanic vote was massive - and, of course Catholic.
No, I haven’t checked it out.

Right – the suits or controversies were (and are) about the activities of church*-owned* or church*-affiliated* enterprises, other than the actual devotional/sacramental activities. If you run a school that admits people not from your congregation, if you rent an events hall to the general public – as opposed to limiting either exclusively to members in good standing of your or sister congregations – then you may become subject to discrimination statutes.

Not only that, but the LDS never barred Blacks from membership, AFAIK. Consider the current situation, not only with the LDS, but also with the RCC and some other denominations which still do not ordain women into their clergy. If the churches were to lose their status over not ordaining Blacks, why wouldn’t they lose it over not ordaining women?

By the way, did BYU have a policy of refusing admission to Blacks like BJU used to?

It appears that DMC is correct; the IRS ruling would have affected many non-profits linked to the LDS Church but not the tax-exempt status of the church itself. The original article that I read on this topic had it wrong.

Here’s a thorough write-up of the history of blacks and Mormonism.

It looks to me like the OP is engaging in equivocation. If “marriage” is a civil right, it’s the condition of being married, not a particular type of ceremony, that people have the right to.

He would get laughed at and told to go home. As he should.

Only after all the lower courts shot it down in flames first. I’m entirely pro-SSM, but no, the government shouldn’t use the tax code to try to make churches change their religious practices. You can start finding troubling implications almost immediately: should the government also order, say, the Catholic church to start ordaining women? Could churches be prosecuted based on racial hiring practices? What about the idea of teaching that some behavior is sinful? Is that discrimination? Essentially I think it would become impossible for any church to have any kind of doctrine.

If a church discriminates against gays, what should happen is the parishioners should stand up and say “If you don’t get with the program, I’m going to the church down the street.” I have some mixed feelings about tax-exempt status for churches, but as long as it exists, this is not how it should be used. The OP is also misinterpreting the law, and there is no way this would get anywhere in any U.S. court.

The pastor officiating my wedding had reservations and was under no obligation to do it. I’m an Atheist, and I said as much.

I’d prefer that churches pay taxes and that contributions to churches not be tax-exempt. But I also believe that churches are free to set their own doctrine. They may perform or deny any or all of their rites to anyone they choose. You can’t even enter a Mormon temple if you’re not Mormon, you can’t get married in a Catholic church unless you’re Catholic or agree to raise your children Catholic, etc. If a church says you can’t get married without being straight, agree with their faith, and dress appropriately, that’s the church’s business.

All non-profits, or just religious ones?

Some churches refused to marry heterosexual couples until their state (or governing church body) allowed them also to marry same-sex couples.

A church choose to not conduct a marriage for anyone, for any reason – just like they can refuse baptism or ordination or any other sacrament. I don’t think we really want the state involved in that.

Churches aren’t bound by the Constitution. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says churches must do something. Only government is bound by it.

But churches do not dictate legislation.

Religious people, or religion-affiliated groups might. But any church with a tax exemption cannot spend money on politics or legislation.

No, what probably happened is:

a) the Mormon church used an affiliate with a different tax status
b) participation in state proposition campaigns is okay under it’s tax status unlike other forms of advocacy

There’s a difference in the tax code between political and lobbying. Some groups can spend some money on lobbying and grassroots activities. A proposition isn’t trying to elect someone, but to make law, so it might qualify.

What about churches that discriminate based on religion? Like Catholics don’t allow non-Catholics to be Catholics?