Most issues within churches and other religious institutions typically stay within such organizations as their own business. But what happens when a pastor or other spiritual leader engages in misconduct or otherwise demonstrates unfitness for such religious leadership? May the religious organization’s governing leaders share these shortcomings with others?
Can nonprofit volunteer leaders ever be held personally liable in relation to their work for an organization? Unfortunately, the answer is emphatically yes. Most state nonprofit laws protect directors and officers from personal liability for acts performed in such volunteer capacities, but significant limitations exist. Leaders need to be attentive to applicable legal requirements, to govern their organizations well, and to pursue available protections such as directors’ and officers’ insurance and other risk management measures.
Today (January 16, 2015) the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to four cases appealed from the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue of same-sex marriage. The Court’s decision to hear the cases addresses the recent split between the federal circuits on the issue. At issue are the following: (1) whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license marriage between two people of the same sex, and (2) whether states must recognize marriages between same-sex couples performed in other states.