SAN FRANCISCO - The City’s stance against Catholic Church officials who oppose the adoption of children by same-sex couples is under attack by a powerful church group.
The Catholic League, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Supervisors for adopting a resolution in March criticizing a high-ranking church official for directing Catholic leaders in San Francisco not to allow same-sex couples to adopt children.
The Catholic League maintains that the resolution violates the First Amendment, which prohibits government from passing laws against religious groups.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed a motion with the San Francisco District Court to dismiss the case on the grounds that it has no merit.
“Church officials weighed in on a matter of public policy and they are certainly free to do that. But the fact they are a religious institution doesn’t constitutionally shield them from being criticized,” City Attorney’s Office spokesman Matt Dorsey said.
The Catholic League is asking the judge to rule that the resolution is unconstitutional and is seeking an unknown sum in damages as well as reimbursement of legal fees.
The resolution, authored by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, urged local Catholic leaders to “defy all discriminatory directives” from Cardinal William Levada, who instructed them to “not place children for adoption in homosexual households.”
The resolution also characterizes Levada’s directive as “hateful and discriminatory rhetoric.”
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The following is the actual text of the resolution passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Judge for yourself. Is it a flagrant violation of the first amendment? I am convinced that it is, because not only does it make a few anti-Catholic remarks, but it specifically urges San Francisco bishops to defy two major tenets of the Catholic faith -- which are obedience to the pope, and refusing to cooperate with sin. The City of San Francisco has effectively legislated what it defines as "acceptable religion" and "unacceptable religion."
Resolution urging Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity has head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, to withdraw his discriminatory and defamatory directive that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco stop placing children in need of adoption with homosexual households.
WHEREAS, It is a 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; and
WHEREAS, The statements of Cardinal Levada and the Vatican that "Catholic agencies should not place children for adoption in homosexual households," and "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children" are absolutely unacceptable to the citizenry of San Francisco; and,
WHEREAS, Such hateful and Discriminatory rhetoric is both insulting and callous, and shows a level of insensitivity and ignorance which has seldom been encountered by this Board of Supervisors; and
WHEREAS, Same sex couples are just as qualified to be parents as are heterosexual couples; and
WHEREAS, Cardinal Levada is a decidedly unqualified representative of his former home city, and of the people of San Francisco and the values they hold dear; and
WHEREAS, The Board of Supervisors urges Archbishop Niederauer and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to defy all discriminatory directives of Cardinal Levada; now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the Board of Supervisors urges Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican (formerly known as Holy Office of the Inquisition), to withdraw his discriminatory and defamatory directive that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco stop placing children in need of adoption with homosexual households.
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: All Catholic Americans should be warned about the ramifications of this lawsuit, regardless of your position on homosexuality. If the city wins, than other U.S. cities will follow through with similar measures, effectively sending a clear, though non-legally binding, message to all U.S. Catholics -- that Catholicism (as defined by the pope and the Vatican) is no longer welcome in the United States of America.