Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, a
Republican, warned Tuesday that allowing gay couples to marry would
lead to church-run hospitals losing their tax exempt status.
At a press conference at the state
Capitol with several African-American church leaders, Marshall
criticized U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright-Allen's ruling striking
down the state's marriage ban, which she stayed pending an appeal.
strikes down Virginia's ban on gay marriage.)
Allowing marriage equality would result
in “significant alteration, change and radical modification of
every aspect of both individual, family and tax law in Virginia,”
“Every church and every Catholic or
Protestant hospital will lose its tax [exempt] status,” Marshall
said. “There is no restricting once it happens. This has effects
that I can't even contemplate at this time.”
“If people simply think that the
so-called same-sex marriage is just a circumstance of whether two
people are cohabiting in the same residence, they are profoundly
mistaken,” Marshall said.
“If the courts decide that the 14th
Amendment requires same-sex marriage, no church in Virginia will keep
its status [and] every charity that's feeding the poor, clothing the
poor, funding medical care, repairing houses – all that will be
gone,” he added.
Carl Tobias, a constitutional law
professor at the University of Richmond, told the Richmond
Times Dispatch that he's unaware of any church losing its
tax-exempt status over its position on marriage equality.
Last month, Marshall filed a House
resolution seeking to impeach Democratic Attorney General Mark
Herring over his refusal to defend the state's ban. House Republican
leaders have already publicly stated their opposition to impeachment
proceedings against Herring.
At Tuesday's conference, Marshall said
he would continue to pressure lawmakers to act against Herring.
lawmaker calls to impeach attorney general who supports marriage