The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a unanimous decision on a case concerning Philadelphia’s requirement that Catholic Social Services abide by the city’s nondiscrimination policy, according to FiveThirtyEight.
According to the publication, the city’s requirement that the school treat same-sex couples the same as other couples violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion.
The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia was due to contention over Catholic-run foster care service providers who were turning away same-sex couples due to a violation of their religious beliefs.
However, there was contention brought due to the organization receiving city funding. According to city rules, any organization that receives such funding must follow its nondiscrimination policy regarding same-sex couples.
The Catholic Social Service took exception to the nondiscrimination policy and, despite being one of the largest child welfare providers in PA, argued that they shouldn’t be forced to violate their religious beliefs due to the policy.
Officials argued that they should not be forced to consider same-sex couples as foster parents, as homosexuality and same-sex marriage go against the official doctrine of the Catholic church.
The supreme court overturned the ruling of two lower courts who ruled in favor of upholding the high court’s 1990 decision in Employment Division v. Smith, which said that any law that infringed on a religion would need to be targeted to that religion, not apply equally to all, which this city rule does
The surprising unanimous decision is a relief to the conservatives, many of whom consider the protection of religious freedoms to be one of the most important functions of the democratic republic that was set up to govern America.
As for the church-run foster care system, they have not only retained their rights not to violate their own religion and still receive monetary backing from the city, but helped to make a marked victory for Christians across the nation.