SALT LAKE CITY – As the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that the City of Philadelphia could not force Catholic Social Services to work with same-sex couples in the placement of foster children, one might expect the Utah LGBTQ community to be outraged.
But Equality Utah issued a statement of support. The reason? The Court found that once the city has put in place a system of individual exemptions, it cannot just deny them to applicants who request them on religious grounds.
“What does this mean for LGBTQ Utahners? To our relief, the court did not recognize a license to discriminate based on religious beliefs. Governments can continue to enforce laws to protect LGBTQ people and others from discrimination as long as they apply those laws equally to everyone, “said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah.
He also stated the group’s belief that “no one should be turned away on the basis of identity from a taxpayer-funded program,” but welcomed the focus of the decision on equal protection under the law rather than a license to discriminate.
Equality Utah also urged lawmakers to “protect LGBTQ Utahners from discrimination in public places. Utah continues to lead the way. We can protect our community from discrimination without restricting religious freedom in our state.”