In recent news, President Trump looks to ban same-sex couples from adopting.
Department of Justice attorneys submitted a 35-page brief to the Supreme Court asking it to rule in favor of Catholic Social Services (CSS). They are a Philadelphia based adoption agency that insists they should be able to turn away same-sex couples under the First Amendment.
Philadelphia found out that the group discriminates against LGBTQ people in 2018. The city cited an ordinance that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The city said that it would reinstate the contract if the agency stopped discriminating.
That’s when CSS sued, saying that they did not have religious freedom. Their religious beliefs include the belief that same-sex couples are bad parents.
A federal judge ruled against CSS, saying that the city’s anti-discrimination law does not “constitute a substantial burden”. It can work with same-sex couples even if it frowns on homosexuality.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case. The Trump administration wants the court to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
The brief argues that the ban on discrimination against LGBTQ because discriminating against LGBTQ people is “religious conduct.”
“Governmental action tainted by hostility to religion fails strict scrutiny almost by definition,” the Trump administration argues. “Adoption of a law in reaction to particular religious conduct may suggest that the government is impermissibly targeting religious exercise, rather than simply targeting a given type of conduct without regard to its religious motivation.”
The Trump administration also accuses the city of giving other agencies exemptions to its anti-discrimination act. They have given exceptions to parents with physical disabilities.
The Trump administration brief cites the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop decision repeatedly – sometimes multiple times per page. A baker in Colorado refused to sell a cake to a same-sex couple.
The Trump administration wants to force local and state governments to foster agencies that discriminate against LGBTQ people. They are effectively showing that homophobic bakers are about much more than cake.
“While this case involves rejecting LGBTQ families, if the court accepts the claims made in this case, not only will this hurt children in foster care by reducing the number of families to care for them, but anyone who depends on a wide range of government services will be at risk of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, religion or any other characteristic that fails a provider’s religious litmus test,” the ACLU’s Leslie Cooper said.
Multiple pending Supreme Court cases argue that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s ban on discrimination “because of sex” includes discrimination against LGBTQ people. (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964)
Donald Trump, though, has signaled that he would veto the Equality Act before Congress. It’s a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity.
As the brief filed in Fulton suggests, even if Congress were to pass anti-discrimination legislation, the Trump administration believes it should not apply to organizations that claim that their religious beliefs are against same-sex marriage.