The U.S. Supreme Court appears to be ready to rule in favor of a Catholic adoption agency which has sought to preserve its Catholic beliefs in choosing not to work with same-sex couples seeking to provide foster care for children.
The case puts on trial the clash between religious freedom and laws and policies seeking to assert far-reaching LGBT “rights,” unleashed after the Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling establishing same-sex “marriage” across the land.
After hearing oral arguments yesterday, court observers sensed that a majority of justices had signaled their support for Philadelphia’s beleaguered Catholic Social Services (CSS).
This is the first major religious freedom case in which newly seated Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, has joined her eight colleagues to hear.
“If we are honest about what is really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents,” said conservative Justice Samuel Alito.
“It’s the fact the city can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage,” asserted Alito.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh called the city’s position “absolutist” and “extreme” and that it appears as if Philadelphia was “looking for a fight.”
“By the time [Chief Justice] Roberts announced, shortly before noon on Wednesday, that the argument was over, it appeared that CSS and the foster parents likely would be able to garner at least five votes for a ruling in their favor, even if it wasn’t clear what the basis for such a ruling might be,” wrote court observer Amy Howe.
In Fulton v. Philadelphia, Philadelphia foster moms Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch are defending the faith-based agency that brought their families together. Starting in 2018, the City of Philadelphia began targeting and threatening to shut down Catholic Social Services (CSS) unless it violates its sincere beliefs.