Commentary

LGBTQ Activists Have a Lesson to Learn After High Court Rules 9-0 for Religious Liberty

By Bill Donohue | June 17, 2021 | 12:54pm EDT
A cross stands against the sky. (Photo credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
A cross stands against the sky. (Photo credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that Catholic foster care agencies can reject gay couples from adopting children. This is a huge victory for religious liberty and a resounding defeat for LGBTQ activists. 

It was these activists who launched a contrived assault on the rights of Catholic social service agencies—no gay or transgender couple had ever complained that they were discriminated against by these Catholic entities—and now their effort to impose their secular beliefs on Catholics has been rejected. 

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the six members who joined his majority opinion (others offered their own opinions), noted that the Catholic agency named in the lawsuit only sought "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 (my italics)." 

The First Amendment guarantees religious liberty, and that provision means little if it only means the right to worship. The right to freely exercise one's religious beliefs in the public square is central to religious liberty, and while that right—like all other constitutional rights—is not absolute, it must be seen as presumptively constitutional. 

This decision makes it more difficult for LGBTQ activists to argue that sexual orientation and sexual identity are analogous to race. They are not. Race is an ascribed characteristic, and as such it is an amoral attribute. Sexual orientation (at least when it is behaviorally operative) and sexual identity are achieved, and to that extent they are normative, thereby making them legitimate categories for moral judgment.

We await all the anti-Catholic bigots who will maintain that we have too many Catholics on the Supreme Court. Hope they notice that two Jews and one Protestant were on the same side as the Catholic justices.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.

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