What Will the SCOTUS Ruling Mean for Christian Colleges?

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Constitutional right to same sex marriage. This leaves Christian colleges questioning how they will be affected.

As the New York Times wrote, “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.” Will they have to abandon their policies?

Could conservative schools lose their tax exemption status? “The religious schools are concerned that if they continue to ban gay relationships, the Internal Revenue Service could take away their tax-exempt status 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,” reports the New York Times.

Dr. Piper the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University was quoted in the article- “I am concerned, and I think I’d be remiss, if not naïve, to be otherwise. This is not alarmist thinking. This is rational listening.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. questioned, “Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?”

Dr. Piper and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. are not the only ones concerned. This worry is spreading among other conservatives, including Senator Rand Paul, who, according to the New York Times, “mentioned the issue in an interview on ‘The Daily Show’ last month — hints at the potential effect of a Supreme Court decision backing the right to same-sex marriage, especially for religious institutions that forbid sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage. It also highlights the political battles likely to follow.”

What political battles follow the ruling remain to be seen. Will conservative Christian schools and charities lose their tax-exempt status? According to the New York Times, legal scholars thinks this is unlikely, especially in the short term, but they didn’t rule it out.

 

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