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WASHINGTON, D.C. - This month's Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and its consequences for religious institutions was the focus of a Senate news conference held by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) today. Family Research Council joined with Senator Lee and several University officials in responding to comments made during oral arguments by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. during April’s Supreme Court hearing on same-sex unions and calling for enactment of the Government Non-Discrimination Act, authored by Senator Lee, which would which would ensure that the federal government cannot discriminate or take action against private entities because they act in accordance with a moral or religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The event was held in tandem with the release of a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, signed by more than 70 leaders in Christian education, concerning comments made by Verrilli in an exchange with Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Looking ahead to a possible constitutional right to same-sex "marriage," Justice Samuel Alito asked a key question: "In the Bob Jones 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?" Verrilli admitted, "It's certainly going to be an issue. I don't deny that. I don't deny that, Justice Alito. It is -- it is going to be an issue."
Travis Weber, the Director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, made the following comments at a press conference to bring awareness of how a ruling against natural marriage would affect religious universities and colleges:
“Over the past year, the Obama Administration has made clear it will use any possible method—whether contracting, grants, school funding, and now tax exempt status—to establish and enforce its view of morality on the private religious sphere by redefining marriage. If the court redefines marriage by mandating it as a constitutional right, the impact will be significant. Religious organizations must be left free to determine their own beliefs, which cannot be coopted by the State. The Government Non-Discrimination Act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against people because of their belief in natural marriage. We urge Congress to act to pass this vital legislation.”
Weber was joined at the press conference by Utah’s Senator Mike Lee, and several leaders in Christian education, including Dr. Samuel Oliver, President, Union University; Dr. Jerry Johnson, President, National Religious Broadcasters and former President of Criswell College; and Dr. Keith Wiebe, President, American Association of Christian Schools.
Weber’s full comments can be found here: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF15F05.pdf
The letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell can be found here: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF15F04.pdf