The following is a statement from Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.
The Catholic hierarchy may think that they have achieved a victory in the Fulton vs. the City of Philadelphia decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, but in fact it is a defeat for the Catholic values of equality, respect, and human dignity of all people, including LGBTQ people. The decision is also a defeat for Catholic values of stable family life and the promotion of the common good. Thankfully, the decision is quite narrow, and its impact will be limited. The bishops did not attain the wider striking down of non-discrimination protections they sought.
Still, this limited ruling allows a small number of Catholic and other religious agencies to exercise not their religious liberty, but their fears and prejudice. And what will be the result? Children in great need for familial warmth and care will wait longer to be placed in loving homes. Why do Catholic leaders resist all empirical evidence that LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents are just as effective and loving as their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts? All these leaders have to do is open their eyes to the thousands upon thousands of successful families headed by LGBTQ people. Their willful blindness is a scandal.
It is a terrible shame that Catholic Social Services and its allies believe that they have achieved a victory when all they have achieved is a legal loophole that allows them to become further isolated from people in their own church. Lay Catholics overwhelmingly support equality for LGBTQ people because every day they witness the goodness of their LGBTQ family members, neighbors, and friends. It’s time for Catholic bishops to learn from the people in the pews about Jesus’ message to treat all people with respect and compassion.
This discussion is not over. It’s now up to Catholic people who support LGBTQ people to tell their leaders that they want church-sponsored adoption agencies not to discriminate in the placement of children. Catholic values demand loving care of vulnerable people and equal treatment of LGBTQ people.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, June 17, 2021