Anti-Catholic San Fran City Resolution OK: 9th Circuit Court Panel

Thu Jun 4, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 4, 2009 ( – A San Francisco City Board’s resolution condemning the Catholic Church because of its moral teachings on homosexuality does not violate the Constitution’s prohibition of government hostility toward religion, says a panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. (See the ruling here)   

The anti-Catholic resolution, adopted March 21, 2006, was challenged by the Thomas More Law Center, a national Christian legal advocacy group based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on behalf of the Catholic League and two Catholic residents of San Francisco.

The city board’s resolution was issued in response to a directive from Cardinal William Levada, in which he instructed Catholic Charities of San Francisco to follow Church teaching and not begin adopting children to homosexuals. The resolution refers to the Vatican as a “foreign country” meddling in the affairs of the city and proclaims the Church’s moral teaching and beliefs on homosexuality as “insulting to all San Franciscans,” “hateful,” “insulting and callous,” “defamatory,” “absolutely unacceptable,” and says that Church teaching shows “insensitivity and ignorance.”  

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center remarked, “The policy of San Francisco is one of totalitarian intolerance of Christians of all denominations who oppose homosexual conduct. My concern is that if this ruling is allowed to stand, it will further embolden anti-Christian attacks.”

The Thomas More Law Center will seek review by the full court and said that, if necessary, the case will be brought to the United States Supreme Court.

The Law Center’s lawsuit claimed that the City’s anti-Catholic resolution violated the First Amendment, which “forbids an official purpose to disapprove of a particular religion, religious beliefs, or of religion in general.” 

Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney who argued the case, stated, “Our constitution plainly forbids hostility toward any religion, including the Catholic faith. In total disregard for the Constitution, homosexual activists in positions of authority in San Francisco have abused their authority as government officials and misused the instruments of the government to attack the Catholic Church. 

“Their egregious abuse of power now has the backing of a federal circuit court. This decision must be reversed. Unfortunately, all too often we see a double standard being applied in Establishment Clause cases.” 

According to Catholic doctrine, allowing children to be adopted by homosexuals would actually mean doing violence to these children. The Church teaches that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. 

The Law Center argued that the “anti-Catholic resolution sends a clear message to Plaintiffs and others who are faithful adherents to the Catholic faith that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message that those who oppose Catholic religious beliefs, particularly with regard to homosexual unions and adoptions by homosexual partners, are insiders, favored members of the political community.” 

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