Sen. Mike Lee says a right to same-sex marriage could threaten religious schools

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-03 20:16:59-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Supreme Court has yet to announce anything, but Utah Senator Mike Lee is already planning how to blunt the effects of a decision establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Lee is reintroducing the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which failed to make any headway in 2013. The act would instruct the federal government not to act against a person who makes a decision based on religious conviction in support of traditional marriage.

"If the government recognizes a right to same-sex marriage, you could at some point have a move by the government, a move perhaps by the IRS, to remove the tax exempt status of any religiously affiliated educational institution," Lee said in a meeting with leaders of conservative Christian groups.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, says Lee is fighting an unnecessary battle.

"We have clearly defined religious liberty in America, and the rights of religions are not going to be trampled on when loving, committed, same-sex couples have the freedom to marry who they love," Williams said.

The Supreme Court will issue a decision on same-sex marriage by the end of June.