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Catholics for Choice Responds to Supreme Court Ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Calls on Congress to Pass Equality Act

June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voice of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, issued the following statement from President Jamie L. Manson after the Supreme Court decided the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case in favor of Catholic Social Services, an anti-LGBTQ foster care agency. The ruling is narrow and tailored to that specific contract, and therefore does not, as many feared, create a sweeping nationwide “right” to religion-based anti-LGBTQ discrimination:

“While we remain deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s broader turn toward far-right religious extremism, we are relieved that the Court has denied the request of Catholic Social Services in Fulton to invent a broad, new religious exemption to nondiscrimination laws, which would have allowed individuals and businesses to refuse to serve people they don’t like whenever they claim their faith demands it.

“As Catholics, we are distressed to see church leaders spend so much time and money fighting in the Supreme Court to win the right to take away civil protections from marginalized people – not least because Catholic voters overwhelmingly reject the use of religion as a weapon to discriminate against others. Our polling shows that 70% of Catholics believe that LGBTQ people should be allowed to adopt children, and that foster agencies should not have the right to refuse to work with them.

“Today’s decision affirms that there is no First Amendment license to discriminate, and state and local nondiscrimination laws remain in place. But it also underscores the urgent need for Congress to swiftly pass the Equality Act, to update and modernize federal civil rights law and ensure that all Americans – regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity – have comprehensive, nationwide protection against discrimination.”

Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.