Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: Religion and politics

Last week the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Catholic Social Services (CSS), a private foster care agency that receives public funds.

In March 2018, the city of Philadelphia learned that CSS, an agency it hired to provide foster care services to children in the city’s care, would not work with same-sex couples due to religious objection. Philadelphia, in turn, informed CSS that it would not work with them unless they agreed to comply with nondiscrimination requirements that are part of all foster care agency contracts. At which point, the CSS sued the city for violating the First Amendment.

The  Supreme Court’s ruling in this case  was narrow and only applies to Philadelphia’s contract with CSS. The American Humanist Society commented, “While we breathe a sigh of relief that the Supreme Court did not overturn a precedent that is vital to maintaining church state separation, we cannot ignore the fact that the Supreme Court did grant the Church a special privilege to discriminate against same-sex couples.

We are deeply concerned, they continue, not only about the short-term impacts on children looking for a loving home, but also the long-term implications for the LGBTQ+ community as well as others impacted by religious discrimination. The verdict comes amid rulings trending in favor of religion, largely brought by religious institutions.

The American Humanist Society’s  Legal Center filed an amicus brief in this case last year supporting the rights of LGBTQ+ families, and  commented that they  would back down because of this decision.

“The AHA will continue to make it clear that we want a country where all of us are protected from discrimination, and push Congress to pass the Equality Act to update our civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.

Religion should never be an excuse to discriminate, and our government should never put church before state. It takes the work of organizations like the American Humanist Association to protect this fundamental right”.

My comment:  My own belief is that the tolerant Epicurus, who welcomed all races and genders to his table,  would have opposed discrimination and intolerance wherever it was found.  Live and let live!

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