4 Steps to avoid a lawsuit after U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage

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4 Steps to avoid a lawsuit after U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage [by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company]

This is the ONLY reasonable document I’ve been able to find since the change of the same-sex marriage landscape several weeks ago. To reduce the likelihood of an individual bringing a successful same-sex-related lawsuit against your church or ministry, consider the following steps:

1) Include a spiritual purpose provision in your governing documents/bylaws. Be sure your organizational governing documents clearly state your ministry’s spiritual purpose, your reliance on scripture, and the intent to advance the ministry in accordance with scripture. Where appropriate, quote scripture within the purpose statement.

2) Include a morals clause in your employee handbook. Be sure your employee handbook includes a policy telling your organization’s employees that the church expects them to support its spiritual purpose and behave in accordance with it. Including such a clause in your handbook, when applied consistently, can go a long way toward protecting the church from employment-related lawsuits.

3) Respond with sensitivity. Train your clergy, staff, and volunteers to approach individual needs and requests with empathy. Although you cannot meet every request or demand, the manner in which you convey your response is sometimes as important as what you have decided.

4) Consult with local counsel. When revising organizational documents and ministry policies and procedures, involve a local attorney. A wide variety of federal, state, and local laws apply to employment and facilities use, and consulting with a local attorney can provide guidance on any state-specific and local legal issues that you may encounter. You also should contact your attorney and your insurance agent any time you anticipate a claim against the church.

All ministries, whether supportive of same-sex unions or not, should recognize and understand the potential impact of this ruling. Following the steps listed above can help ministries continue to operate in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs and avoid claims of improper discrimination. Contact a local attorney for assistance with creating policies and procedures and for help in understanding how the law applies to your ministry.

Click on the picture for a full version of the article (plus a printable PDF).

John Kissinger [07/20/2015 10:25 AM]
This information is from an organization that has dealt extensively and successfully with similar situations in the past Alan N Carla Smith c/o David M. Hinsen http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2008/january/brotherhood-mutual-denies-insurance-to-pro-gay-church.html

John Kissinger [07/20/2015 10:34 AM]
Also, there is no lawsuit. West Adrian didn’t sue Brotherhood Mutual over the denial, so the situation would set no legal precedent in regards to religious freedom. William DeArteaga Christianity Today was wrong that If same-sex marriage does gain national legal acceptance, there will probably be exceptions for clergy and churches to discriminate according to their religious teaching. Christianity Today was right that the real test will lie with for-profit companies like Brotherhood Mutual.

John Kissinger [07/20/2015 6:04 PM]
Alan N Carla Smith Ed Brewer David M. Hinsen does ya’lls church insurance provide coverage for that?

David M. Hinsen [07/20/2015 6:08 PM]
We have Brotherhood Mutual. I’ll have to review the documents or call to find out.

John Kissinger [07/20/2015 6:10 PM]
This is a statement they just sent via e-mail

Alan N Carla Smith [07/20/2015 10:42 PM]
Good news

Alan N Carla Smith [07/20/2015 10:43 PM]
PastorDavid FreshFire

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