MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that he is leading a 17-state coalition defending “the parsonage allowance” with a friend of the court brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The parsonage allowance is a long-standing federal law granting religious ministers tax-exempt status for the housing allowances they receive from their religious organization employers. In this case, Gaylor v. Mnuchin, the states’ amicus brief supports the position of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and opposes the position of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
“In Wisconsin and across the country, religious organizations and their ministers are a vital part of our communities and provide essential charitable services to the most needy,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “By easing their tax burden, the parsonage allowance enables religious organizations and ministers to spend more of their resources on building stronger communities and serving the poor and marginalized.”
The parsonage allowance benefits ministers and religious organizations of all faiths by easing their tax burden of ministers and enabling them to live closer to the communities they serve. Laws like the parsonage allowance have deep historical roots dating back to the founding of the United States, and so are supported by the Constitution.
Wisconsin’s friend of the court brief is supported by Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and the Attorney General of Michigan. Oral argument in the Seventh Circuit is expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks.