Supreme Court rules in favor of Catholic charity that wouldn’t allow same-sex foster parents

The court’s decision was unanimous, but it was limited to the facts of the case and is therefore unlikely to have a nationwide impact.

WASHINGTON – The US Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the city of Philadelphia went too far in enforcing an anti-discrimination law on Catholic Social Services, a Roman Catholic charity, that barred same-sex parents from being eligible to adopt foster children. refused.

The judges in this case were required to decide whether the constitution allows religious freedom, with the exception of anti-discrimination laws. It was the first of the major legal disputes of the period to be heard with Justice Amy Connie Barrett calling for President Donald Trump’s appointment to court.

The court’s decision was unanimous, but it was limited to the facts of the case and is therefore unlikely to have a nationwide impact.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, “Philadelphia’s refusal to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster mothers.” —Father violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” Several judges wrote a unanimous opinion.

The court rejected the urging of Catholic Social Services, one of 30 agencies it contracts with Philadelphia to find homes for abused and neglected children, for a comprehensive decision that would address religious objections to anti-discrimination laws. will allow it to be removed.

“We are relieved that the court did not recognize a license to discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs,” said ACLU’s Leslie Cooper. “This is good news for LGBTQ people and everyone dependent on the protection of non-discrimination laws.”

Since the Supreme Court struck down laws against same-sex marriage in 2015, lawsuits have spread across the country brought by bakers, florists, photographers and others who say their religious beliefs force them to have same-sex marriages. will not allow the services to be provided.

In the background is the court’s 1990 decision that held that religious groups are not exempt from general local, state, and federal laws, including those banning discrimination. The decision to reverse that ruling would make it easier for businesses to claim religious exemptions from laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. But civil liberties groups say it will blunt efforts to fight discrimination.

Court two years ago faced, but failed to decide, a similar issue in the case of a Colorado man who said baking cakes for same-sex weddings would violate his religious freedom and right to free expression, Even if state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Orientation.

After learning in 2018 that CSS would not consider same-sex couples as potential parents of foster children, the city of Philadelphia insisted that all of its contractors agreed not to discriminate.

So the charity sued. It said supporting same-sex couples as foster parents would be in violation of its religious teachings about marriage. In response, Philadelphia stated that the charity was free to express and practice its religious views, but not to set the terms of municipal contracts. The city also said that the charity is not being punished for its religious views, noting that it still has contracts from the city, amounting to millions of dollars a year, to perform other services in foster care for children. for.

Lower federal courts held that the city acted properly to enforce its non-discrimination laws. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “religious belief shall not excuse compliance with ordinary civil rights laws.”

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