SALT LAKE CITY — When the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the city of Philadelphia could not force Catholic Social Services to work with same-sex couples in placing foster children, it might be expected that the LGBTQ community in Utah would be outraged.
But Equality Utah issued a statement of support. The reason? The Court held that once the city established a system of individual exemptions, it could not deny them only to applicants who request them for religious reasons.
"What does this mean for LGBTQ Utahns? To our relief, the court did not recognize a license to discriminate based on religious beliefs. Governments may continue to enforce laws protecting LGBTQ people and others from discrimination, so long as they apply these laws equally to everyone," said Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams.
He also stated the group's belief that "no one should be turned away from a taxpayer-funded program because of who they are," yet applauded the decision's focus on equal protection under the law rather than a license to discriminate.
Equality Utah also called upon the legislature to "protect LGBTQ Utahns against discrimination in public accommodations. As before, Utah often leads the way. We can protect our community from discrimination without diminishing religious freedoms in our state."