Would churches and religious organizations with gender-specific practices lose their tax exemptions?
- The First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause protects the rights of religious groups to freely practice their religion. This fundamental right, which dates back to the founding of the United States, would be weighed against the protections afforded by any new constitutional amendment.
- The ERA would not require anyone to change their religious beliefs. The ERA would not limit the freedom of religions to organize their clergy and other religious practices according to their beliefs.
- When same-sex marriage was legalized, religions were not required to change their definitions of marriage for their institutions. When divorce and birth control were legalized, religious organizations were not required to change their beliefs regarding these practices. Churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples or to permit their members to divorce still receive tax exemptions. Passing the ERA is the same – it will not require churches to change their beliefs and gender-specific practices.