On April 4, the Thomas More Law Center sued the City and County of San Francisco, and two local officials, on behalf of the 6,000 members of the Catholic League who live there; two Catholic individuals (one of whom is a Catholic League member) are also named in the suit.

At issue is an incredible resolution that was unanimously passed on March 21 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. It was the most frontal assault ever levied against the Catholic Church by government officials in recent memory.

Because the Catholic Church supports the right of children to be raised by fathers and mothers, and not by various other combinations, the Board of Supervisors’ resolution called the Church’s teachings on adoption “hateful,” “discriminatory,” “insulting” and “callous,” adding that it “shows a level of insensitivity and ignorance.” The resolution also said, “It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with…this city’s existing and established customs and traditions….”

The Constitution, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger once said, “affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any.” The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, however, did just the opposite. They showed nothing but hostility to the Catholic Church, holding in contempt its right to craft its own teachings. “Make no mistake about it,” Bill Donohue told the media, “resident Catholics have been told, however indirectly, that the government does not look kindly on their right to publicly express their religion.”

Donohue ended his comments with a thought experiment: “Imagine what would have happened if the Vatican had condemned the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for ‘meddling’ in the internal affairs of the Catholic Church simply because the two entities disagreed on a public policy issue? Separation of church and state cuts both ways, and when agents of the state accuse the members of any religion of interfering in municipal affairs—merely because the two sides hold contrary views—the ineluctable result is the creation of a chilling effect on the rights of the faithful.”

Whether we win or not is not as important as the necessity of letting these bigots know their bigotry is going to cost them.


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