The Supreme Court agreed today to decide if laws against discrimination go too far and violate religious freedom. As part of the case, the court will consider overturning a 30-year-old ruling that says religious beliefs cannot override general laws even if those beliefs violate a person’s religious edict.
The case centers around a Philadelphia lawsuit brought by Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns. In the lawsuit, Catholic Social Services argue that endorsing same-sex adoptions for children in their care violates its religious teachings about marriage between a man and woman. The case was lost in lower federal courts. On appeal, Philadelphia’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “religious belief will not excuse compliance with general civil rights laws.”
The charity says no same-sex couple has ever approached Catholic Social Services about becoming foster parents but they want to ensure the laws allow the exclusion unless the foster parents speak their preferred Christian message regarding marriage. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to reevaluate their stance and issue a decision by late June.