Jump directly to the content
Six Questions about the Supreme Court’s Upcoming Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
Six Questions about the Supreme Court’s Upcoming Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
Richard Hammar explains what clergy and church leaders should know ahead of the June decision.

Editor’s Note: In April, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that likely will decide whether same-sex marriage is legal nationwide. Deliberations are underway, with a decision expected sometime in June. Ahead of that ruling, we posed six questions about the case and what leaders should know to Richard Hammar, senior editor of Church Law & Tax Report and ChurchLawAndTax.com.

To date, 36 states and the District of Columbia have recognized the legal rights of same-sex couples to marry. If the Supreme Court does the same in June, as many expect it will, what will change?

Should the Supreme Court decide there is a constitutionally protected right for same-sex couples to marry, it will affirm the laws and court decisions of states that already recognize such a right and it will overturn the laws of the remaining states that define marriage as a union between a man and woman only.

You have followed this issue closely for several years now. What have you learned?

Most state laws and court rulings sanctioning same-sex marriage contain a very specific religious exemption for clergy. The exemptions say any clergy who oppose same-sex marriage based on their sincerely held religious beliefs may choose not to officiate same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Do you expect the Supreme Court to include a similar exemption with its ruling next month, should it recognize a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry?

Yes. And others do, too. Douglas Laycock, one of the country’s premier constitutional scholars, supports same-sex marriage rights, but in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court advocating the rights of same-sex couples to marry, he also implored the Court to provide a definitive clergy exemption.

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

Posted:
May 18, 2015
View All
from our store
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Did you know pastors and other church staff may be required by law to report child abuse and that laws on this vary state by state?
2018 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

2018 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

Find comprehensive help understanding United States tax laws as they relate to pastors and churches.
Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Richard Hammar combines research and analysis to take you through a step-by-step process regarding public accommodations laws.
ChurchSalary

Receive a customized salary report for up to 15 different ministry positions. Learn how your church should compensate based on size, budget, location, and employee work experience.