|The Human Rights Campaign should be credited with how quickly it came out with its statement after SCOTUS's ruling.|
By now, we are all aware that the Supreme Court ruled for a Philadelphia Catholic adoption agency in the latest attempt by the religious right to enshrine homophobic religious bigotry into law. But just in case some of us aren't, here is a recap from The Huffington Post:
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of faith-based foster agency Catholic Social Services in a case that has significant implications for LGBTQ foster parents as well as taxpayer-funded groups’ ability to discriminate against queer people or other faiths based on “religious freedom.” The case centers around two local foster agencies that the city of Philadelphia found would not work with same-sex couples as foster parents in 2018. The city deemed this a violation of their anti-discrimination policies, and stopped referring foster kids to those agencies. One agency, Catholic Social Services, sued the city, saying it was violating its First Amendment rights and demanding the city continue working with it even as it turned away gay couples as foster parents. In a decision released Thursday, the court held that Philadelphia’s refusal to contract with CSS violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, which protects a person’s right to freely exercise their religion. The ruling requires the city of Philadelphia to renew its contract with CSS.
Thursday’s ruling was a victory for Catholic Social Services, an organization associated with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and two foster parents, who alleged that Philadelphia’s refusal to make foster-care referrals to CSS discriminated against the group because of its religious beliefs about traditional marriage. But the decision fell short of the broad endorsement of religious freedom that the challengers had sought. While the justices unanimously agreed with CSS and the foster parents that the city’s action was unconstitutional, a six-justice majority left intact the Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Employment Division v. Smith, which held that government actions do not violate the Constitution’s free exercise clause as long as they are neutral and apply to everyone.
In his 77-page concurring opinion, Alito argued that the court’s decision in Smith is a “severe holding” that is “ripe for reexamination.” He complained that, after all of the time and attention devoted to the case, the Supreme Court had issued only “a wisp of a decision that leaves religious liberty in a confused and vulnerable state. Those who count on this Court to stand up for the First Amendment have every right to be disappointed,” Alito concluded. He added, “as am I.”
BREAKING: #SCOTUS has ruled non-discrimination laws apply to taxpayer-funded child services so long as they are enforced neutrally but that Philadelphia’s law was not neutral. pic.twitter.com/COfLsBfghM— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 17, 2021