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

That’s what the law says, but I’m not sure how rigorously it’s observed. I think religious groups would react VERY harshly to any attempt to enforce it.


I wouldn’t especially mind if all churches had their tax exempt status revoked equally, but I’d object very strongly if only churches which preached ‘politically incorrect’ dogma were subject to taxation. Taxing the Roman Catholic church and leaving the Unitarians alone seems like a pretty clear endorsement of Unitarianism over Catholicism.

(For what it’s worth, I support gay marriage as a legal/civil matter, oppose it as a religious matter.).

Generally speaking a 501(c)(3) (which includes a church) can spend money lobbying for legislation, but cannot endorse particular candidates. The primary restriction is that they can’t spend too much of their time and money lobbying.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to say “legislation” in the first sentence.

No that’s not correct. The major churches are quite careful not to cross the line into lobbying, because doing so would put their tax exemptions at risk. Instead, what happens is that members of religious groups set up independent lobbying groups, separate from the parish/diocesan structure. Those groups then register as non-profit lobbying groups, with entirely separate finances. They can lobby, just like any other lobby group, from their particular religious perspective. Since they are separate bodies from the churches, their activities do not affect the church’s tax status.

Yes. My answer was too general.

This is common with other 501c3s too, not just churches.

Here is the IRS guidance on Charities, Churches and Politics.

Next thing you know people will want to marry their pets :wink:

But I agree. It would make the gay movement seem hypocritical and they wouldn’t lose all credibility.

At this point you don’t really want that gay catholic wedding, you just want to punish people who disagree with you.

I think anyone can performa wedding. You need a license the same way a notary public needs a license to be able to sign the wedding certificatre but if you have a civil wedding ebfore the ceremonial wedding, you can have anyone perform the ceremony. A lot of my friends have had their weddings officiated by judges they clerked for, politicians they worked for or local celebrities.

Their tax status depends on whether they meet the requirments of a 501(c)(3) not whether they perform gay marriages.

Because the money you give to me is not tax deductible. The money you give to a church is. We can impose special requirements on something that comes with a special benefit.

So can we revoke NARAL’s tax exempt status? How about the ACLU?

As long as they don’t get involved in political campaigns or elections, they are free to exercise their right to free speech.

Just because you are surrounded by gay friednly folks in your part of California doesn’t mean the whole of California is that way. Prop 8 passed by about 5%. That’s why we shouldn’t be voting on civil rights, minorities always get screwed. You vote on the principles that should apply to everyone and then apply those principles to individual cases.

Heck, political organizations react very harshly to any attempt to enforce it.

That’s an overstatement. Some lose their tax status for it.

Except that the ACLU and NARAL aren’t 501(c)(3) organizations.

No, it isn’t. It’s not even marriage. And churches should not be tax-exempt to begin with.

People keep saying this. Why not?

Why should they be?

How should I know? I wasn’t taking a stand on the issue. You were.

Bob Jones University didn’t refuse to admit blacks. The discrimination lawsuit was based on a college policy which forbid interracial dating or marriage. This included refusing to admit any applicant who was in a interracial relationship.

No. That is something that would be a matter for the church’s own version of ecclesiastical court to decide.

If the church and state are intertwined enough that the state can make the church’s tax-exempt status contingent upon such a decision, it’s only a very short step to the church being able to compel the state to enforce civil (and perhaps eventually criminal) penalties against a member who breaks one of the church’s “laws.”

I don’t want to even be on the same Material Plane as a world where that can happen in the USA.

A church should no more be allowed to discriminate than anybody else. So yes, if a church performs weddings it should perform gay weddings, if it ordains anyone it should ordain women, and if it admits white people it should admit black people.

Religion is not an excuse for bigotry, and they should be subject to the same rules as everyone else. It’ll never happen, sadly, because religion seems far too entrenched in society, as an excuse for people to fuck other people over. Needless to say, the right to practice a religion should not be considered a fundamental right at all, let alone one that trumps other people’s rights.

Should churches discriminate? No. Is religion an excuse for bigotry? No. But that doesn’t mean the government should force churches to do things.

As an atheist, I disagree - and it’s a good thing, because if society doesn’t respect differing views on religions, we’d be the first ones against the wall.

Because it amounts to us non-believers being forced to subsidize them. They shouldn’t be tax exempt any more than any other business.