President Donald Trump’s administration is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to allow religiously affiliated adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT people, and refuse to place children with same-sex couples.
The Washington Blade reports: In a 35-page brief, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco and other Justice Department attorneys maintain the City of Philadelphia has “impermissibly discriminated against religious exercise” under the First Amendment by requiring Catholic Social Services to abide by a contract requiring LGBTQ non-discrimination practices in child placement. “Governmental action tainted by hostility to religion fails strict scrutiny almost by definition,” the brief says. “This court has never recognized even a legitimate governmental interest — much less a compelling one — that justifies hostility toward religion.” The U.S. government isn’t a party to the case, known as Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, so the brief is completely voluntary. In justifying the brief before the Supreme Court, the filing makes the case the Justice Department has a compelling interest to intervene. “This case concerns the application of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the City of Philadelphia’s termination of a contract allowing Catholic Social Services to help place children in the City with foster parents, on the basis of Catholic Social Services’ unwillingness to endorse same-sex couples as foster parents,” the brief says. “The United States has a substantial interest in the preservation of the free exercise of religion. It also has a substantial interest in the enforcement of rules prohibiting discrimination by government contractors.”
More from Metro Weekly: Supporters of the city argue that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of CSS would have disastrous implications for the more than 400,000 children in foster care, some of whom will be denied opportunities to find more permanent placements because the pool of available foster parents has been decreased by excluding those who don’t conform to an agency’s stated religious beliefs. They also argue that it would open the door to discrimination in other government services, as any individual, business, or agency will be allowed to fabricate a set of religious or moral beliefs justifying their decision to discriminate against those seeking to access or utilize certain services. “The Trump administration submitted a brief to the Supreme Court on the side of a taxpayer-funded agency that is seeking a constitutional right to turn away people who fail to meet the agency’s religious criteria,” Leslie Cooper, the deputy director of the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement. “While this case involves rejecting LGBTQ families, if the Court accepts the claims made in this case, not only will this hurt children in foster care by reducing the number of families to care for them, but anyone who depends on a wide range of government services will be at risk of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, religion or any other characteristic that fails a provider’s religious litmus test.
Read the full brief here.
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