We may not know the outcome until the spring of 2021, but it looms as one of the most important cases pitting gay rights against religious liberty that the U.S. Supreme Court has ever agreed to hear.

Two years ago, a federal district court turned down Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in its bid not to be forced to place children for foster care with parents of the same sex. The city of Philadelphia brooked no religious exemption. Last year, it lost again in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Those on the side of the Catholic Church include the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty. Those on the other side include the Hindu American Foundation, Muslim Advocates, Sikh Coalition, Unitarian Universalist Association, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Union for Reform Judaism.

Catholic social service agencies do not recognize homosexual parents as suitable to be foster parents. They believe that children are entitled to a mother and a father, the only two people who can naturally create a family. Children need to be loved by those who provide role models for them based on the two sexes.

Religious liberty cannot exist without extending to religious individuals and institutions the kinds of exemptions they have traditionally been afforded.

This is only one of three religious-liberty cases that the high court will rule on in the spring.

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