On Thursday, June 17, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the case of Fulton v. Pennsylvania, and the result is a historic victory for the right of religious freedom.
Historically, as many conservatives no doubt are aware, anti-discrimination laws have generally been used to grind down and undermine traditionally conservative institutions like churches, thus allowing the left to secure major cultural victories.
This time, however, an application of anti-discrimination laws have had a positive effect on the things that conservatives are about. This unusual fact gives the right all the more reason to celebrate.
The Case and the Decision
Fulton v. Pennsylvania involved a situation in which the state of Pennsylvania refused to contract with Catholic Social Services because CSS would not allow same-sex couples to adopt children from its foster care agencies.
The Supreme Court ruled that the state did not have the right to discriminate against CSS on the basis of that organization’s fundamental religious beliefs.
Even more amazing is that the Court’s decision in favor of CSS was a unanimous 9-0. Although some of the conservative-leaning justices on the Court have disappointed many conservatives in the past with what they take to be their waffling and insufficient commitment to principle, a decision this strong may ultimately prove to be a sign that America has a decisively conservative Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority decision, with Justices Barrett, Kavanaugh, Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor joining.
“The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless it agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents cannot survive strict scrutiny, and violates the First Amendment,” wrote Roberts.
The state of Philadelphia claimed that its decision to discriminate against CSS fell under a public accommodations law, but the Court disagreed.
As Ashley McGuire, senior fellow at the Catholic Association put it, “the Supreme Court has put an end to efforts to close down and cancel the faith-based agencies whose work on behalf of marginalized children is invaluable.”