Conservative groups rejoice over ‘substantial win for religious freedom’ in Supreme Court ruling on Catholic adoption

Steven Hall, DCNF

  • The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that Philadelphia couldn’t refuse to contract with Catholic Social Services because it didn’t certify same-sex couples as foster parents.
  • Multiple conservative leaders and groups wrote that this was a good step toward promoting religious freedom.
  • Liberal organizations spoke out against this ruling, saying it encouraged discrimination over same-sex couples.

Multiple conservative leaders and groups applauded the Supreme Court on Thursday for ruling in favor of Catholic adoption agencies in what one activist called a “substantial win for religious freedom.”

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the city of Philadelphia couldn’t refuse to contract with the Catholic Social Services, a foster-care agency, because it didn’t certify same-sex couples as foster parents.

Kay C. James, president of The Heritage Foundation, wrote that the court’s decision rejects what she describes as another example of government overreach.

“Catholic Social Services has demonstrated for more than a century that religious beliefs inspire and motivate service to vulnerable children and foster parents. Philadelphia contracts with dozens of foster care agencies and no one complained about being rejected by this agency. The city singled out Catholic Social Services to purge any organization that held a traditional view of marriage,” James wrote.

“The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling today says that this hostility violated First Amendment freedoms,” James wrote.

A national advocacy organization, released a statement, writing that before the city became involved in foster care, Catholics served impoverished children of Philadelphia, according to Catholic Vote. They also said that Catholic agencies had placed the vulnerable kids in “loving, forever homes.”

“All Americans benefit from the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold our first amendment freedoms, but most especially the vulnerable children of Philadelphia who directly benefit from the life-changing work of Catholic Social Services,” the statement said.

“But those (Catholic) agencies have become the latest victim of woke culture as activists seek to push them out of the adoption and foster care space because of their religious values. Those efforts are rooted in an anti-Catholic bigotry that refuses to tolerate pluralistic views and beliefs,” said Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow at The Catholic Association, a religious-political organization.

Autumn Leva, vice president for Strategy at Family Policy Alliance, a conservative Christian organization, released a statement that religious foster and adoption agencies should have the freedom to help children in their community.

“Today’s decision is a significant win for religious freedom—and especially for children,” Leva wrote.

Leva also referenced the Equality Act, stating that it redefines “sex” to include a person’s self-declared gender identity throughout federal civil rights law.

“By doing that, the Act could be used to force foster and adoption agencies into similar dilemmas to Catholic Social Services – something that the entire Supreme Court rejected today. The Equality Act would threaten religious freedom and the wellbeing of children, and must be rejected,” Leva said.

Dr. Sharen Ford, director of foster care and adoption at Focus on the Family, a fundamentalist Christian organization, said she was “relieved” and “hopeful” after seeing the results of this case.

“We rejoice with the children who will be served as a result of this decision and pray families will partner with these organizations to serve as a source of hope for those most in need,” Ford said.

Liberal organizations have condemned the ruling, saying that the Catholic foster-care agency should include same-sex couples.

Adam Peck, a senior media coordinator at the Center For American Progress, a liberal public policy research organization, said the group was “disappointed” by the outcome and didn’t believe the facts of the case pointed to religious discrimination. He also encouraged people to push their politicians to pass the Equality Act.

“All Americans who care about a country free from discrimination must now shift their attention back to Congress,” Peck said.

Alison Gill, vice president for Legal and Policy at American Atheists, a non-profit organization, released a statement saying that the Catholic Social Services looked “radical.”

“They wanted to require the city to contract with them, but only on their terms — and sadly, they succeeded,” said Gill.

“The Supreme Court has strengthened the resolve of those seeking the special right to discriminate because of their religious beliefs,” said Gill.

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