Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Impact of Gay Marriage Ruling on Religious Institutions and the Economy


This article is the 2nd part of a three-part series on the Supreme Court ruling on same sex-marriage, and to give a clear understanding of the different aspects of the said ruling, here are some curated thoughts on how this will impact religious institutions and their religious freedom, whether or not it will lead to more legal battles. The article will also present what good the decision will bear on the economy. Diversity companies, who stand firm in their commitment to diversity and inclusion, are positive the decision will spur economic growth in the country.

Impact on Religious Freedom and Religious Institutions
A critical aspect of the new law is on how it will affect religious freedom, a point discussed by 4 SC justices in their dissenting opinion. The Atlantic noted in its article that as more and more states have legalized same-sex marriage, religious conservatives have expressed anxiety about attacks on religious freedom...But as Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas point out, this decision will almost certainly kick off a series of legal challenges related to religious liberty. The justices focus on three issues in particular, some of which have already created legal and political tussles: gay adoption; the tax-exempt status of religious organizations that wish to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; and the obligation of private churches and individuals to recognize and perform same-sex marriages. - Read more here:

As expected, many religious leaders, including the Catholic Church and other Christian churches have expressed their discontent. Yet a smaller but equally impassioned group of evangelicals celebrated the fact that marriage equality is no longer just a dream for LGBT couples across America. And it's these leaders who may be pointing to the future of the movement. - Read more hereSee also:
 
In an article, the Pew Research Center presented crucial questions on how the ruling could affect religious institutions. Virtually everyone agrees that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution offers some protections for religious groups.[...]But what about a church basement or retreat center, which is rented out for opposite-sex weddings? And what about a religiously affiliated institution, like a university, that offers married heterosexual students housing but refuses such accommodation for married gay and lesbian students? These questions have real-world implications, since virtually all American religious groups have affiliated nonprofits (such as schools, hospitals and charities).

This same article likewise presents some differing opinions from authorities. There are those who think the SC decision will not lead to widespread acrimony and legal battles; but University of Illinois law professor Robin Fretwell Wilson think institutions will be pressured to give ground on gay marriage by federal authorities (such as the Internal Revenue Service, which could take away an institution’s tax-exempt status), state civil rights commissions or private lawsuits. - Read more here:

Impact On the Economy 
Support for the SC ruling on gay marriage from the business sector is overwhelming, news from different sources show.

An article on the Wall Street Journal reads: Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the case, 379 companies, including Apple Inc., Hilton Hotels and Walt Disney Co. filed an amicus brief in support of legalizing same-sex marriage. As news spread of the Supreme Court’s decision many of the companies that were part of the brief took to social media. As of Friday afternoon, there were more than 1.8 million tweets mentioning #lovewins, the top trending hashtag about the Supreme Court decision, according to Topsy, a social analytics company. - See more here:

In this video by USA Today, Janice Cowhey, a partner at Marcum, says there are financial implications for individuals and businesses. While generally positive about how the ruling is going to impact the economy, such as in terms of how the marriage industry is going to boom, she says businesses and individuals are going to start to think about a lot of things now.

A report by Fortune also notes a potential economic boon brought about by the SC decision on same-sex marriage: In an article last year, the Washington Post estimated that the decision could prove to be a $2.6 billion economic windfall in the next three years when passed across the U.S. That figure, which was calculated by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, sees the majority of its money coming from states including California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Washington, the publication reported at the time. - Read more here   

In sum, on one hand, legal battles regarding religious freedom of religious institutions that are against same-sex marriage may ensue. On the other hand, while it is a period of adjustments for companies that are in support of the ruling, as well as for LGBT couples, the economy is seen to benefit from it.

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