Friday, May 18, 2018

Catholic Archdiocese sues Philadelphia over adoption

Along with nominal plaintiffs (individual citizens), Catholic Social Services (under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia) has sued Philadelphia in federal court, claiming the City Council unconstitutionally stopped placing children in its foster homes because of the church’s opposition to marriage equality. They further claim that the city is “prioritizing political grandstanding over the needs of children.” The sophistry is both arrogant and intellectually dishonest:
The City is penalizing Catholic Social Services, in violation of its contract and state and federal law, because the agency has Catholic beliefs about same-sex marriage. Catholic Social Services serves and places children regardless of their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, source of income, familial status, genetic information, or sexual violence victim status. Even though no LGBT couple has filed a complaint against Catholic Social Services, and the agency would not stand in the way of any couple who wished to foster a child in need, the City has decided to penalize the agency because the City disagrees with its religious beliefs. But even more importantly, the City is penalizing both the foster parents who wish to continue working with Catholic Social Services and the children they would serve
The city's ethic is very simple. Agencies should not be able to discriminate with taxpayer dollars while doing the work of the city. Why the agency feels it needs to discriminate is irrelevant. So is the fact that they place children regardless of their sexual orientation (who, by the way, lose the opportunity to be placed with a gay couple). Catholic Social Services is placing its interests above the best interests of the kids that it is supposed to serve.

It is the Church that is penalizing both prospective parents and foster children. If they cannot do the job free of discrimination then they should not do it at all. Would they stand for a Jewish agency that refused to place children with Catholic families on the premise that Catholics are idolaters (as some orthodox Jews believe)?

Of course it is the Church that is being discriminated against:
Philadelphia’s actions discriminate against Plaintiffs for their religious beliefs and practices, constitute a breach of contract, unlawfully try to coerce them to speak contrary to their religious beliefs, and restrict Plaintiffs’ religious exercise in violation of state law and the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions
Utter nonsense. They are free to believe and worship according to those beliefs. That is guaranteed in the First Amendment. They are not free to demand the right to impose those beliefs on others when they receive taxpayer funds and in defiance of local law. Nor are they trying to coerce anyone. According to the city:

Philadelphia’s local laws protect LGBTQ residents. In Philadelphia, it is illegal for employers, housing providers, businesses, providers of public accommodations and City services to discriminate against anyone because of their gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. People can use any bathroom consistent with their gender identity and any single occupancy bathroom in a retail establishment must have gender neutral signage.
What makes these people think that they deserve a pass on local law? The individual plaintiffs, by the way, claim that they are being prevented from adopting children due to the policies of the city. They are free to use a different agency.

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