A stridently anti-Catholic resolution passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has prompted a federal lawsuit.
In the March 21 measure, the city’s board condemned Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality and urged the archbishop of San Francisco and Catholic Charities of San Francisco to defy church directives prohibiting homosexual adoptions.
The resolution alludes to the Vatican as a foreign country meddling in the affairs of the city and describes the church’s moral teaching and beliefs as “insulting to all San Franciscans,” “hateful,” “insulting and callous,” “defamatory,” “absolutely unacceptable,” “insensitive and ignorant.”
The resolution calls on the local archbishop to “defy” the church’s teachings and describes Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is responsible for safeguarding the doctrine on the faith and morals of the church throughout the Catholic world, as “unqualified” to lead.
The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center brought the lawsuit on behalf of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and two San Francisco Catholic citizens.
They are challenging the resolution as a “startling attack by government officials on the Catholic Church, Catholic moral teaching and beliefs, and those who adhere to the tenets of the Catholic faith, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, said the “demagoguery and virulent words of this resolution are reminiscent of the anti- Catholic bigotry of the Ku Klux Klan and the Know Nothings, which marred our nation’s earlier history.”
“San Francisco may as well have put up signs at the city limits: ‘Faithful Catholics Not Welcomed,” he said.
Thompson pointed out Catholic doctrine proclaims allowing children to be adopted by homosexuals would actually mean doing violence to them because their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment not conducive to their full human development.
Such policies, therefore, are considered gravely immoral by Catholics.
The lawsuit claims that the First Amendment “forbids an official purpose to disapprove of a particular religion, religious beliefs, or of religion in general.”
It also states this “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.”
Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling the case, argued the Constitution “forbids hostility toward any religion.”
“In total disregard for the Constitution, homosexual activists in positions of authority in San Francisco are abusing their authority as government officials and misusing the instruments of government to attack the Catholic Church,” he said. “This egregious abuse of power is an outrage and a clear violation of the First Amendment.”
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