By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

SAN FRANCISCO, December 15, 2009 ( – A panel of eleven judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in San Francisco will hear oral arguments tomorrow, December 16, concerning the constitutionality of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor's resolution attacking the Catholic Church for its teachings against homosexual adoptions.

The en banc panel, consisting of all the judges of the court, will review the earlier opinion of a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit that upheld the resolution.

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 challenge was made on the grounds that the resolution expresses government hostility toward the Catholic Church and its moral teachings in violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. 

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.” 

The Board's resolution makes reference to the Inquisition and it urges the Archbishop of San Francisco and Catholic Charities of San Francisco to defy Church directives.

A lower federal court's dismissal of the case based on the pleadings was later affirmed by the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

However, on November 5, 2009, a majority of the Ninth Circuit judges voted to grant the Law Center's petition for an en banc (full bench) rehearing.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Law Center, remarked, “It seems the only bigotry and prejudice these so-called liberal politicians tolerate is anti-Catholicism. To them the only good Catholics are the bad Catholics who ignore the teachings of their Church.”

“Our constitution plainly forbids government interference in, and hostility toward, religion, including the Catholic faith. And we are fully committed to fighting homosexual activists who seek to promote their personal political agenda at the expense of our constitutional freedoms.”

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

“Such policies are gravely immoral and Catholic organizations must not place children for adoption in homosexual households,” the Law Center argued.

According to the Law Center, 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, and favored members of the political community.”

The full text of the San Francisco City Board Resolution.

The full text of the Thomas More Law Center's Petition for Review.

See previous LSN coverage:

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

San Francisco's Hateful Anti-Catholic Resolution Prompts Lawsuit

San Francisco City Government Calls Catholics 'Hateful, Discriminatory, Insulting, Ignorant'


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