Newly appointed Supreme Court Justice and Christian fundamentalist Amy Coney Barrett will face her first major test on the bench this week. November 4 the Supreme Court will hear a case involving LGBTQ rights and protections involving adoption.
Fulton v. City of Philadelphia “concerns a Roman Catholic adoption agency in Philadelphia that claims that it can’t match foster children with same-sex households without violating its religious beliefs,” reports CNBC. “After learning about the policy in 2018, Philadelphia refused to refer the group new foster children, citing a city law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The city added language to its 2019 contracts specifically prohibiting such discrimination against potential foster parents. The group, Catholic Social Services, is suing to defend its ability to refuse to work with same-sex households. In court papers, the group has argued that Philadelphia’s moves unlawfully targeted its right to exercise its religion, which is protected under the First Amendment.”
The case could set far-reaching prescient with how the US government reconciles bigoted religious institutions with protections for LGBTQ people. The Trump administration filed a brief in the case this past June, arguing that religious institutions and businesses should have a right to refuse services to queer Americans.
As a devout Catholic herself, Amy Coney Barrett once served as a trustee to a religious school, Trinity Schools Inc., which bars employment of LGBTQ people, and refuses entry to openly gay students or the children of same-sex parents. Barrett also gave multiple lectures to Blackstone Legal Fellowship Program of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a hate group which advocates sterilization of queer people, conversion therapy and criminalization of consensual gay sex. Coney Barrett’s opinion and handling of the case will likely foreshadow her approach to other cases involving LGBTQ rights. Already two sitting Supreme Court justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, have openly criticized the court’s verdict in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which opened the door to marriage equality nationwide.