The Corner

Law & the Courts

The Fulton Case at the Supreme Court Is Not about Gay Rights, It Is about Vulnerable Children

Welcome to June. If you live in New York, there’s no way to forget it’s Pride month now. Turn the block to NR’s headquarters off Fifth Avenue, and you learn that purchasing apparently has to do with declaring your views on same-sex marriage. But it’s not about having an opinion anymore, it’s about submitting. Because we don’t seem to believe in pluralism anymore.

Some of the headlines this morning are in that spirit. We’re waiting for a few big Supreme Court decisions, as tends to happen in June. The Fulton case — argued by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — is among them, involving the city of Philadelphia and Catholic Social Services. At the same time that Philadelphia declared a foster-care crisis, needing to recruit foster families, it abruptly stopped working with Catholic Social Services because they don’t work with same-sex couples. The most important fact in this case may be that no gay couple filed a complaint. This is all about ideology. Foster parents will tell you how essential their agencies are in walking through not only the bureaucracy — that at times seems to be working against them — but with resources for all the specialized needs children who are in foster care are going to have.

Indoctrination about what this case is supposedly about seemed to be jumping out of my phone today. Some of the things I read from the New York Times and others seem to be threatening the Justices appointed by Trump in a particular way (Alito and Thomas are lost causes, as far as some are concerned). “Will Amy Coney Barrett side with discrimination?” some ask. A more accurate question is: Will she work to protect religious liberty and children?

Can we please agree to come together for children in a spirit of pluralism? Joe Biden, who believed marriage was between a man and a woman not so long ago, can give speeches about the aspirations of our democratic republic, but the imperiling he talked about yesterday has to do with the political fads of the day looking to crush long-standing beliefs that make a whole lot of sense.

I’m not even asking him to believe what his Church teaches, I’m humbling suggesting we consider the needs of children as more important than ideologies.

Let there be agencies that work with same-sex couples and agencies who don’t — and not because they want to discriminate, but because they believe children will do best in a more traditional setting.

And can we stop making issues where there aren’t? Again, there’s no gay couple in Philadelphia who went to Catholic Social Services and was refused. The media and others may want to make this a Pride issue, but it’s simply about children who don’t have time for adults to work out all their differences.

Is there anyone left who supports pluralism? Can we find common ground for vulnerable children, despite our differences?

Don’t let this case be about rainbows or Donald Trump. It’s about children and how we can best help them and protecting religious freedom in this all-important area of caring for children in need of true self-sacrificial love.


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