Council Supports College Park Participating in the Fulton vs Philadelphia Supreme Court Case

At last night’s meeting, the City Council voted in support of College Park participating in the Fulton vs Philadelphia Supreme Court Case

Personally, I had concerns about the nature of the case, in particular, the conflicts it presents between the important groups, the LGBTQ and the faith group, as the rights of both groups are protected by the U.S. Constitution and the City Charter.

One of the 3 questions the Supreme Court justices will be looking into is the first amendment right of the Catholic charity to exercise their faith freely. The faith groups are protected in this country by this first amendment right, just like the LGBT and other communities are protected for their rights too.

It is very important to say that no one can be discriminated based on his or her sexual orientation, but can it be equally said that a faith-based organization or a charity be denied funding because of their sincere religious belief in their scripture?

Supreme Court justices took the issue of religious freedom into its consideration when they gave a narrow victory to the Colorado baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado case recently.

Philadelphia’s Catholic charity CSS has been providing foster care services for about a century, and I don’t think they’re a discriminatory or hateful group, they are just trying to follow their belief and scripture, just like many of our faith communities in College Park are trying to follow their faith with conviction.  If CSS was a discriminatory or a hateful group, they wouldn’t be offering help to same-sex couples by referring them to another foster care service, even though they haven’t received any such requests.

College Park is a diverse and pluralistic community and both LGBT and the faith groups are very important and strong parts of our community. We all want both groups to live here side by side together with respect and dignity. Taking one side over the other will only divide us instead of uniting us, especially when the rights of both groups are protected by the US constitution.

There are dozens of Amicus briefs in this case, and for this very reason, I didn’t feel that College Park should have taken part in any of these – either for or against it.

I’d have been very happy to support the Philadelphia Amicus brief if a faith group such as CSS which is protected by the US constitution wasn’t part of the case. I joined my colleagues and supported another Amicus Brief a year ago about a workplace discrimination case Georgia against the LGBTQ community. However, this Philadelphia case is quite different and a lot more complex than the Georgia case, and I don’t this College Park should have been a part of this case.

Last night’s vote went 5-3. CM Mitchell, Mackie, and Kabir voted in opposition to the motion of College Park participating in this case.

Thank you all who joined last night and spoke, and those who wrote to us about this important matter.

You can read more about the vote here on the Diamondback.

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1 Comment to “Council Supports College Park Participating in the Fulton vs Philadelphia Supreme Court Case”

  1. By Dawn Budd, August 13, 2020 @ 2:35 pm

    Thank you for once again being so diligent in your deliberations and not looking at the issue from just one side, but from multiple angles. I hope the SCOTUS looks at the issue in that same way and comes to the same conclusion.