Main | Monday, May 18, 2009

Anti-Gay Churches Risk Tax Exempt Status In Campaign Against Pro-Gay Politicians

Mike Tidmus points us to this WCBS story in which NY state Sen. Ruben Diaz promises to use the tax-exempt pulpits of his followers to campaign for the defeat of politicians supporting of marriage equality.
Sen. Diaz warned the governor that, even though Latinos traditionally vote Democrat, this is not the time to take their votes for granted. "If we could move people to come here [the anti-gay evangelical rally], we could move people to tell them who to vote for," Sen. Diaz said. "Each one of us will vote against him next time around," Miguel Lugo said.
Tidmus points out that Washington DC's preachers have already been warned on this topic. (Emphasis mine.)
In the wake of the Washington DC Council’s recent 12-1 vote recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, a handful of disturbed preachers went berserk and threatened to use their pulpits to bring down the elected officials who voted in favor of the measure. Americans United for Separation of Church and State stepped in and reminded the anti-gay fundies that they risked their tax-exempt status if they pursued that course of action, because:

Federal tax law says 501(c)(3) non-profit groups, including houses of worship, may not “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

AU’s Executive Director, Rev Barry Lynn, said, “Religious leaders have the right to speak out for or against same-sex marriage, but they cannot use the resources of their churches to elect or defeat candidates. Uniting houses of worship with partisan politics makes for a bad marriage and an unlawful one to boot.”

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