Same-Sex Marriage and Your Church: A Quick Review of What the Supreme Court Did & Did Not Do

Over two months has passed since the US Supreme Court’s June 26, 2013 rulings addressing same-sex marriages (addressing the constitutionality of the federal definition of marriage under Section 3 of DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, respectively). Now that the initial societal hubbub has subsided, federal and state governments, religious institutions, and nonprofit employers in general are beginning to focus on the many tax and legal issues affected by these rulings.

What the Rulings Do

Mandatory Employer Notice for Health Care – Upcoming Deadline

While most small nonprofit organizations (less than 50 employees) are not required to offer health care coverage to employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (“the Act”) all employers are required to comply with the Act’s notice requirements.  The deadline is October 1, 2013 – right around the corner! 

Nonprofit organizations may satisfy the Act’s notice requirements simply by distributing one of the two model notices on the United States Department of Labor’s website.  One version is for employers who do not offer any health care plan, and the second version is for employers who offer a health care plan to some or all employees.

Notices must be provided to all current employees, as well as to all later hired employees.  Failure to comply with the notice requirement could result in fines as much as $100 per employee, per day of noncompliance. 

“Blood Pools At Church Steps” – Safety and Security in Houses of Worship

Pastor Michael Allen of Uptown Baptist Church tweeted those words after a gunman opened fired on a group of people standing near a bus stop outside the church.  According to a Chicago Sun-Times report, at the time of the shooting, about 175 people were eating tacos in a church outreach ministry meal to the homeless.  One victim collapsed on the church steps and lay near death.