“It remains to be seen whether gay rights advocates and/or the government will seek to apply the Bob Jones rule to all institutions that dissent from recognizing same-sex marriage,” Nathan Diament, the Washington director for the Orthodox Union, said in an email.
The groups point to an exchange in April between Donald Verrilli, the Obama administration solicitor general, and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who asked whether a school could lose its tax-exempt status if it opposed gay marriage? It is going to be an issue.” How much of an issue is what is now exercising Jewish groups.
The justices themselves acknowledged the possible fallout for religious groups.
But in their dissents, Chief Justice John Roberts and Clarence Thomas said such protections were insufficient.
“Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage,” Roberts wrote.
“I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue,” Verrilli replied. Will Jewish schools lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t recognize gay couples?
Could they become ineligible for government grants?
Or face discrimination lawsuits for teaching the traditional Jewish perspective on homosexuality?
Abba Cohen, who directs the Washington office for Agudath Israel of America, called the court’s ruling an “ominous” sign.
“When an impression is given that religious views are bigoted and are vilified, and that [their adherents] really should be given the status of second-class citizens, once you’re dealing in that kind of atmosphere, you don’t know what kind of disadvantages and disabilities people will suffer,” Cohen said. and the Rabbinical Council of America — expressed worry.
After the court’s decision was released on Friday, an array of Jewish groups were rejoicing, including several that had joined briefs in favor of same-sex marriage. “We are deeply concerned that, as a result of today’s ruling, and as the dissenting justices have pointed out, members and institutions of traditional communities like the Orthodox Jewish community we represent may incur moral opprobrium and risk tangible negative consequence if they refuse to transgress their beliefs, and even if they simply teach and express their religious views publicly,” said a statement from Agudah, which had filed an amicus brief opposing same-sex marriage.
“There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court.