WASHINGTON, D.C., May 9, 2011 ( – The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a Catholic group’s lawsuit over a 2006 resolution by San Francisco city officials, which condemned the Catholic Church over its prohibition of same-sex couples adopting.

The high court rejected without comment on Monday the appeal filed by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of two Catholic citizens in San Francisco and the anti-defamation Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The gruops were challenging the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to allow the San Francisco resolution to stand.

The public interest firm filed a petition for review with the high court in February, alleging that the federal courts had ignored San Francisco’s violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause in a resolution that they said amounted to a state attack on Catholics’ religion. 

In 2006, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors had unanimously passed a declaration against the Vatican, saying that its directive requiring Catholic agencies to conform to the Church’s moral guidelines and not place children with homosexuals for adoption, was “discriminatory and defamatory.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2006 had issued the directive in response to Catholic Charities branches in Boston and San Francisco having placed children for adoption with homosexual couples.

The board personally attacked Cardinal William Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and former archbishop of San Francisco, as “a decidedly unqualified representative of his former home city” and urged San Francisco archbishop George Niederauer and the local Catholic Charities “to defy all discriminatory directives of Cardinal Levada.”

The board also said the Vatican’s instruction to Catholic agency amounted to an illegitimate intervention in another country’s internal affairs.

“It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great city’s existing and established customs and traditions, such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need,” wrote the supervisors.

However, a federal judge in December 2006 dismissed the case, and the federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld the decision to dismiss in 2010 by an 8-3 vote, after a separate panel deadlocked on the merits of the case.

The Catholic League’s president William Donohue said, however, that the legal process seems to have resulted in a minor victory, noting that San Francisco officials (whom he described as “notorious anti-Catholic bigots”) have taken a more cautious approach over the past few years to public confrontation with the Catholic Church.

“We haven’t seen the same level of vitriol and hostile remarks from the Board of Supervisors” Donahue told the San Francisco Chronicle.


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