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Letters to the Editor: Punishing Catholic foster agencies is no way to uphold LGBTQ rights

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a dispute involving a Catholic adoption agency and gay rights.
(Michael Reynolds / EPA)

To the editor: Why not treat foster care like marriage? (“Religious freedom is not a license to ignore civil-rights laws,” editorial, Sept. 1)

In Pennsylvania (as in California), religious leaders solemnize weddings. These ceremonies also give newlyweds civil and legal benefits that come from the government. The Catholic Church cannot perform same-sex marriages, but that doesn’t stop LGBTQ couples from getting married in California, Pennsylvania or anywhere else in the country.

The same goes for foster care. While Catholic Social Services of Philadelphia cannot endorse the relationships of same-sex couples, there are 29 other foster agencies in the city that can, including three certified by the Human Rights Campaign for their excellence in serving LGBTQ families.

Excluding a Catholic ministry and its dedicated foster parents from serving vulnerable children doesn’t create any more opportunities for LGBTQ families to foster. In fact, the city’s actions disproportionately harm minority and disadvantaged kids: Roughly 70% of the foster kids and 60% of the foster parents who partner with the Catholic Church in Philadelphia are people of color.

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Philadelphia is willing to keep these kids in institutions rather than put them in loving homes of families who partner with Catholic Social Services. The best way forward is to let heroic foster parents who partner with Catholic Social Services to continue serving kids in need.

Lori Windham, Washington

The writer is senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.


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