Another fight over gay couples adopting

The Religious Right never quits fighting back against gay rights. They hate gays. They want gays to be treated as criminals. Or subjected to compulsory “conversion therapy.” Or, at best, treated as outcasts.

The latest crisis that they have generated is over gay couples adopting children. A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the city of Philadelphia can require foster and adoption agencies to comply with their antidiscrimination rules.

The plaintiffs in the case were, not surprisingly, Catholic Social Services.  They filed an immediate appeal. This will probably end up at the Supreme Court, and of course, the judge’s ruling will be shot down…if it comes up after Kennedy retires. I am sure they will wait for that. Kennedy has often come down on the side of gay rights. Kavanaugh’s vote will be a slam dunk.

Judge Tucker found that the city of Philadelphia has a “legitimate interest” in ensuring that public services are “accessible to all Philadelphians who are qualified for the services,” and that “the pool of foster parents and resource caregivers is as diverse and broad as the children in need.” He further noted that DHS and the city have a legitimate interest in “avoiding likely Equal Protection Clause and Establishment Clause claims that would result if it allowed its government contractors to avoid compliance” with the city’s nondiscrimination provisions “by discriminating against same-sex married couples.”

The ruling came just one day after House Republicans advanced an amendment that would allow adoption agencies that receive public funding, like Catholic Social Services, to refuse to work with same-sex couples on religious grounds. The amendment would permit the Department of Health and Human Services to withhold “15 percent of the federal funds the state or local government receives for a program that provides child welfare services” from any state or local government that was found to “discriminate” against one of these religious agencies.

Christina Remlin, lead counsel at Children’s Rights, a nonprofit child welfare organization, said exclusionary policies, like the one Catholic Social Services had in place, could have a trickle-down effect. “When you have a provider agency that espouses intolerant views and promulgates them and stands by them, that kind of culture tends to permeate down to the foster parent and adoptive parent level, so that around the kitchen table at breakfast, you have a situation in which foster parents are espousing the belief that, for example, being gay means that you should be sent to hell.”

Ten states in the U.S. currently permit state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs, according to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ think tank. Judge Tucker’s ruling implies these states are vulnerable to lawsuits on the basis of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

I hope he is right. The idea that religious organizations should be allowed to discriminate against gays is absurd. The idea that shutting down their discrimination is “discrimination” is even more absurd. Intolerance of intolerance is not intolerance.

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