If the Supreme Court rules that gay marriage must be legal across the nation, could religious colleges and universities lose their tax- exempt status? On Tuesday, the nation’s highest-ranking attorney admitted that yes, they could.
As Joel Gehrke of National Review noted, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli conceded the possibility in oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges at the Supreme Court. Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. opened the line of questioning by referring to Bob Jones University, a South Carolina school that had lost its tax-exempt status after refusing to change its now-rescinded policy that prohibited interracial marriage and interracial dating.
Verrilli struggled to answer the question but spoke with candor:
Verrilli’s reply has not received attention in the mainstream press except in one Washington Post blog post. But it has alarmed social and religious conservatives. On Wednesday, Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, warned that all religious institutions, not just colleges and universities, are at risk of dire financial hardship if the high court legalizes gay nuptials: