The Supreme Court has announced it will take a case brought by a Catholic adoption agency suing for the right to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. The agency alleges that their religious freedom should allow them to refuse service to same-sex couples.
Catholic Social Services sued after the city of Philadelphia ended a contract with the service after finding out the agency wouldn’t serve gay couples. Lower court rulings have sided with the city, pointing out that religious beliefs are not grounds for violating general civil rights laws.
The Catholic charity “failed to make a persuasive showing that the city targeted it for its religious beliefs, or is motivated by ill will against its religion, rather than sincere opposition to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the Third Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that religious groups are not exempt from general local, state, and federal laws, but the current makeup of the court has caused concern among civil rights advocates. The Court has lurched to the far right lately with Democrat-appointed Justice Sonya Sotomayor accusing the Court of “putting a thumb on the scale in favor of” the Trump administration.
The administration supports giving adoption and foster agencies the right to discriminate in the name of “religious freedom.”
This isn’t the first time the Catholic Church has come under scrutiny recently in Philadelphia. Last year, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report detailing the sexual abuse of over 1000 children and the church’s attempts to cover it up.
The court will hear the case during the next term, which starts in October.