If the Supreme Court this month finds a “constitutional right” to gay marriage, religious schools like BYU say they may have to abandon their policies prohibiting homosexual behavior or risk losing their tax-exempt status.
The religious schools are concerned that if they continue to bar 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.
In a recent letter to congressional leaders, officials from more than 70 schools, from Catholic high schools to evangelical colleges, said that a Supreme Court ruling approving same-sex marriage would put at risk all schools “adhering to traditional religious and moral values.”
“I am concerned, and I think I’d be remiss, if not naive, to be otherwise,” said Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. “This is not alarmist thinking. This is rational listening.”