For Immediate Release
Roy Speckhardt, firstname.lastname@example.org , 202-238-9088 ext. 109
(Washington, DC, August 20, 2020) – In a stand against religiously ordained discrimination, the American Humanist Association (AHA) joined other nontheist groups in a Supreme Court amicus brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in this case on November 4.
Catholic Social Services (CSS) refused to certify same-sex couples for adoption in violation of anti-discrimination laws. The issue before the high court is whether a faith-based organization that partners with a government entity has to comply with neutral laws of general applicability per Employment Division v. Smith (1990). The amicus brief argues that Smith should not be overturned and that decisions of the Third Circuit should be affirmed.
AHA Legal Director and Senior Counsel Monica Miller said: “Not only do we see Catholic Social Services trying to garner a license to engage in otherwise unlawful discrimination against the LGBTQ community, but we also see an attempt to undermine the rule of law itself.”
The brief, joined by other major nontheist organizations, notes that: “It is antithetical to the concept of religious liberty to allow a government contractor that serves the public to discriminate on the basis of religion. The government itself perpetuates discrimination when it allows an organization that carries out essential social services with its backing to implement the organization’s religious orthodoxy.”
“Discriminatory practices like the ones CSS has engaged in continue to interfere with a child’s ability to find a loving home,” noted Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the AHA. “CSS’s expectation of receiving taxpayer dollars to use religion as a weapon against loving families and children is abhorrent.”
Miller concluded: “Religious institutions that partner with government entities to provide social services must comply with the same rules that other social service providers adhere to.”
The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.