Something that didn’t draw much attention in yesterday’s Supreme Court oral argument over whether the Constitution mandates the legal recognition of same-sex marriage: how it may affect religious colleges.
Ed Whelan at National Review has the pertinent section of the transcript, where Justice Samuel Alito is grilling Solicitor General Donald Verrilli:
Justice Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones [University] case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?
General Verrilli: You know, I—I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I—I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is—it is going to be an issue.
Whelan has good advice for journalists covering the issue:
I hope that reporters will ask President Obama if he is going to direct or allow his Administration to deprive religious schools and other nonprofits of their tax-exempt status for holding the same view of marriage that he professed to hold when he was first elected president.
Chief Justice John Roberts also got in on the act, according to NR‘s Joel Gehrke:
“Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?” Roberts had asked. Verrilli tried to defer to the states on that point, but Roberts pressed him about the significance of the court’s ruling as it might pertain to federal law.