Sen. Ted Cruz has added a new twist to his unsubstantiated claim that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision last year will cause religious schools that don’t recognize same-sex marriage to lose their tax exemptions. In a speech last week to the National Religious Broadcasters convention, Cruz said that the Obergefell ruling will also force Christian broadcasters off the airwaves.
Cruz completely twisted remarks made during the Obergefell arguments by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli. While Verrilli said that he couldn’t answer a question about tax exemptions, Cruz alleged that “the answer from the Obama Justice Department in the open court of the Supreme Court of the United States was yes, that is a very real possibility that the IRS will come after you, that if your hosts go on air and say, ‘the Bible teaches that marriage is not defined by man, it is defined by God as the union of one man and one woman to mirror the relationship of Jesus Christ and the church,’ that you risk the federal government yanking your FCC license. That’s the threat we’re facing. They’re not hiding from this threat. They’re saying in open court, ‘We will use the power of government to go after and target those who speak against us.’”
Despite Cruz’s claim, legal analysts and religious groups have said it would be highly unlikely that marriage equality will bring about the end of tax exemptions for religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage.
Secondly, the FCC issue never came up in court, and Verrilli never came close to claiming that the government will go after religious broadcasters or people who speak out against same-sex marriage.
Cruz simply made it up.
This shouldn’t be surprising, as the Texas senator also falsely claimed that the legalization of gay marriage will lead to criminal penalties for pastors who refuse to perform marriage for same-sex couples.