AG Slatery Joins Effort Urging Protection of Nonprofit Religious Tax Exemptions

Press release from the office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, July 7, 2015:

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III Joins Group of Attorneys General Urging Congress to Protect Religious Freedoms

Attorney General Slatery and 14 other state Attorneys General have sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take action to protect the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organizations following the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The letter was prompted by comments U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. made during oral arguments in the case. The Solicitor General indicated that the federal government might decide, based on the outcome of the case, that certain religious organizations no longer qualify as tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code and also that contributions to these organizations are not deductible as charitable contributions.

“Under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, citizens have the right to exercise their religion freely without government pressure to change their minds or penalties for unpopular beliefs,” the letter states.

The letter asks that Congress modify the Internal Revenue Code to prevent the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organizations that disagree with the same-sex marriage decision.

“Congress has a long history of enacting laws that provide additional protection to religious groups,” said General Slatery. “Protecting the religious freedoms of our State’s citizens is a serious matter and we encourage members of Congress to take the necessary steps to preclude the IRS from targeting religious groups in any way.”

In addition to Tennessee, states signing on to the letter include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A full copy of the letter can be viewed here: http://attorneygeneral.tn.gov/cases/congress/congress-letter.pdf