SCOTUS unanimously rules in favor of religious freedom

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision is being called a victory for religious freedom.

Fox News reports that the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a religious foster agency cannot be barred from a state’s foster program solely because it excludes same-sex couples. 

Background

The case involved the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a local religious foster agency called Catholic Social Services (CSS). CSS excluded same-sex couples from its program, and, as a result, Philadelphia tried to exclude CSS from the city’s foster program.

After the city tried to exclude CSS, CSS filed a lawsuit. The lower courts ruled in favor of the city.

Eventually, though, this matter made it all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that court just overturned those lower court decisions.

“CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

He concluded: “The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless it agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents cannot survive strict scrutiny, and violates the First Amendment.”

9-0

Somewhat surprisingly, given the issue at hand, this was a unanimous 9 to 0 ruling with even the liberal justices agreeing.

In the majority opinion, Roberts was joined by conservative justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh as well as liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch wrote concurring opinions, as did Barrett. Justice Clarence Thomas joined Alito’s and Gorsuch’s.

Reactions

This decision, of course, is being slammed by leftist groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which referred to it as “a license to discriminate based on religious beliefs.”

Others, however, are referring to the decision as a win for the Constitution and its guarantee of religious liberty.

“It’s a beautiful day when the highest court in the land protects foster moms and the 200-year-old religious ministry that supports them,” said Lori Windham, one of the lawyers who argued on behalf of CSS.

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