The following is a statement from Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, about the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case which asks whether our country’s laws allow religious institutions to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The case involves the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services, an adoption/foster care agency which receives government funding but refuses to place children with legally married same-gender couples.
Catholic Social Services claims that they are upholding Catholic teaching about marriage and family. But just two weeks ago, Pope Francis stated his support for legal rights for same-gender couples in legally-formed civil unions. And, as early as 1983, the bishops of Washington State authoritatively stated “. . . prejudice against homosexual people is a greater infringement of the norm of Christian morality than is homosexual…activity.”
When the pope and bishops have affirmed church teachings that call for equal treatment of lesbian and gay people, it is scandalous for a Catholic agency to discriminate against them. Worse yet, that they are spending churchgoers’ money to sue for the opportunity to go against both church and civil law. It is an even greater scandal that this Catholic agency wants to receive government money while ignoring non-discrimination laws, and distorts the real meaning of religious liberty in so doing.
Poll after poll affirms that the Catholic faithful in the U.S. are welcoming LGBTQ families with open arms. But since at least 2015, most Catholic leaders have tried to ignore the reality that marriage equality is the law. Instead of reaching out to families headed by LGBTQ people, church leaders push them away. Instead of accompanying same-gender couples on their life journey, as Pope Francis keeps reminding them to do, the bishops abuse the treasured value of religious liberty to justify their anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Church leaders have much to learn from the faithful. New Ways Ministry provides a list of 12 simple ways that Catholic parishes and pastors can let LGBTQ families know they are welcomed and loved.
New Ways Ministry prays that the Supreme Court will stand up for the Catholic and constitutional value of non-discrimination. We pray that our church’s leaders will have a change of heart and see the many spiritual and moral gifts that LGBTQ people offer. We pray for the day when our Catholic leaders will not turn to the nation’s courts seeking permission for behavior that not only contradicts their own teachings but is shameful.
Two amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs that were filed in the Fulton case had strong pro-LGBTQ Catholic dimensions to them, including one which New Ways Ministry, along with other progressive Catholic groups, joined.
You can read them by clicking on the titles below.
- Miguel H. Díaz, Ambassador to the Holy See, Ret.; CHILD USA; DignityUSA; New Ways Ministry; WATER; and WOC in Support of Respondents, filed by Marci A. Hamilton, Esq., and Leslie C. Griffin, Esq.
Bondings 2.0 is cited several times in this brief.
Dr. Leslie Griffin was the presenter at New Ways Ministry’s webinar, “The Supreme Court and LGBTQ Issues: What Catholics Need to Know in 2020,” on Sunday, November 1st, on Zoom. You can view the Zoom recording of her presentation by clicking here.
- 27 Lay Roman Catholics in Support of Respondents, filed by James K. Riley.
Several prominent Catholic theologians and pro-LGBTQ leaders are cited in this brief.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, November 4, 2020