Constitutional law guarantees freedom of religion and prohibits religious-based discrimination and restrictions on religious freedom, except for the protection of public order and general welfare. The law includes provisions for prosecuting hate crimes and speech that defiles religious groups.
The law allows taxpayers to allocate 0.3 percent of their income tax payments to the Catholic Church or to other religious or nonreligious groups or charities registered as nonprofit organizations. Religious organizations must be legally recognized by San Marino Court to receive this benefit. In order to obtain legal recognition, religious organizations are required to submit evidence of not-for-profit activities and annual reports. The court may periodically audit and inspect organizations, require them to submit additional documentation, and investigate any complaints from organization members or third parties. If a taxpayer allocates a portion of his or her income tax payment to a previously unregistered group, the tax authorities will contact the group to confirm its legitimacy and review its financial statements.
There are no private religious schools, and the law requires religious education in public schools. Only Catholic religious instruction is offered. The state approved curriculum includes comparisons between Christianity and other religions and between the Bible and other religious texts. Teachers are selected by the Church and may be religious or lay. Religious instruction is funded by the government. The law also guarantees students the right to choose not to participate in religious instruction without penalty. Students (or the parents, if the student is under 18) must choose to opt out at the beginning of each school year.
The government is not a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
As of 2015, the latest year for which figures were available, there were approximately 130 religious and nonreligious groups or charities registered as nonprofit organizations that received contributions from taxpayers, including the Catholic Church, a number of Catholic associations, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and an Orthodox Christian association. Information as to how many of the 130 organizations were religious was unavailable.
Prisoners in the state-run prison complained that it lacked space where they could worship. However, they were allowed access to religious clergy. The country did not begin construction of a new prison to increase space as previously announced.
Catholic symbols were common in government buildings. For example, crucifixes hung on courtroom and government office walls. The government maintained a public meditation and prayer site in the capital for use by worshipers of any religion.