Attorney General Jackley Joins Other Attorneys General to Protect Religious Freedom
PIERRE – Attorney General Marty Jackley and 14 other State Attorneys General announced today they have sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take steps to protect the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organizations. During oral arguments in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. was asked if religious-affiliated institutions could have their tax-exempt status revoked if they opposed same-sex marriage, Verrilli said “it’s certainly going to be an issue.”
“The newly recognized federal constitutional right to same- sex marriage must and can peaceably coexist with other longstanding constitutional rights of freedom of religion and speech. There is no need to infringe upon either individual or religious freedoms in carrying out the directive of the U.S. Supreme Court. As Attorney General I will work to both ensure common sense solutions and vigorously protect the right to freedom of religion,” said Jackley.
The letter states that by stripping tax-exempt status from religious organizations in this way- a severe consequence that could force groups to exit the public square- would be an unprecedented assertion of governmental power over religious exercise. The letter asks Congress to modify the Internal Revenue Code to prevent the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organization that disagrees with the decision in Obergefell.
Those signing on to the letter were Attorneys General from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.