The Supreme Court’s Ruling on Foster Care Is a Victory for Religious Freedom—and Not a Defeat for Gay Rights

June 18, 2021 | Alexandra Desanctis
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In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday in favor of Catholic Social Services, a religious agency that the Philadelphia government had shut down because it would not place foster children in the care of same-sex couples. The court concluded that the city had violated the institution’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. Alexandra Desanctis notes what liberal critics of the decision fail to understand:

[This] case isn’t, as left-wing activists insist, about “gay rights” at all; it is about children in need. [Moreover], it’s entirely inaccurate to suggest, as Politico did in its breaking-news update, that the court has sided with a group “that turns away same-sex couples as foster parents.” . . . As shown by the Becket Fund, which defended Catholic Social Services in court, the city of Philadelphia has been unable to find a single instance of a same-sex couple so much as approaching the Catholic agency about fostering a child. To suggest that the agency “turns away” such couples, then, is simply untrue.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Politico’s account claims that the court’s ruling now permits Catholic Social Services to “reject would-be parents based on their sexual orientation.” But the institution’s policy has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Rather, the policy—informed by the teaching of the Catholic Church—is to work to place foster children in homes with a married mother and father.

The reason for hypothetically refusing to place a child with a same-sex couple, marital status aside, is because the Catholic Church teaches, and the agency believes, that it is best for children to live in a home headed up by a married mother and father. The sexual orientation of the individuals is beside the point.

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