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LGBTQIA+

Supreme Court Supports Catholic Adoption Agency’s Right to Deny LGBTQ Couples

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(Shawn Thew — EPA / Shutterstock)

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court sided with Catholic Social Services (CSS) in their lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia for terminating their contract to screen foster parents due to CSS’s refusal to consider same-sex couples.

What We Know:

  • Philadelphia has custody of 5,000 children that have been abused or neglected. They have 30 contracts with private agencies to provide various services for these children, such as foster care, placement, and group homes. The contracts ban discrimination against LGBTQ couples in screening for foster parents, which CSS has a policy against due to religious reasons.
  • CSS’s lawyer argued that the city was trying to prevent CSS from doing work it has done for “two centuries.” Neal Katyal, the lawyer for the city’s representation, pointed out that despite the cancellation of their screening contract, CSS was still be receiving millions for other programs they were in contract with.
  • Justices were divided 6 to 3 on the reasoning of the decision. Chief Justice John Roberts penned the opinion of the majority, stating that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment. Longstanding precedents in the court consider laws that are neutral to religion and generally applicable to be constitutional.

Roberts wrote, “As an initial matter, it is plain that the city’s actions have burdened CSS’s religious exercise by putting it to the choice of curtailing its mission or approving relationships consistent with its beliefs.”

  • His opinion was more narrow in scope than conservatives were hoping for. LGBTQ supporters were concerned this ruling would strike down a 1990 precedent.
  • The 1990 precedent, Employment Division v. Smith, protects neutral and generally applicable laws that “burden religion.” This provides leeway for states and cities to forbid discrimination. Justice Samuel Alito felt as though Robert’s narrow reasoning was rendering the court’s decision temporary. In reference to Employment Division v. Smith, Alito said, “This severe holding is ripe for reexamination.”

The decision overrules the opinion of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with Philadelphia. Diana Cortes, Philadelphia City Solicitor, responded, “With today’s decision, the Court has usurped the city’s judgment that a non-discrimination policy is in the best interests of the children in its care, with disturbing consequences for other government programs and services.”

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Crime

Three People Arrested in Connection to Homophobic Killing of 24-Year-Old

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Three people were arrested by the Spanish police over the killing of a 24-year-old gay male.

What We Know:

  • Samuel Luiz, a nursing assistant, was beaten to death outside of a club in A Coruña on Saturday. Two of Luiz’s friends, Lina and Vanesa, told reporters that Luiz was outside on a video call when two men and one woman attacked him. The three individuals thought Luiz was taking a video of them, and though he and his friends told them he was on a call, one of the individuals began to shout homophobic slurs towards him.
  • Vanesa, who was on the video call with Luiz, stated that the video went dark, but she could still make out the audio. She heard one of the men yell, “either stop recording, or I’ll kill you, fag.” Although she couldn’t make out what was happening, she heard Luiz getting beaten up and Lina yelling to leave him alone. The man eventually stopped, leaving Luiz bruised but alive. He then returned with about 12 others to kick and punch Luiz. Despite emergency services efforts, Luiz later died at the hospital.
  • The killing of Luiz has prompted protests all over Spain, in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, and A Coruña. Members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies protested for the arrest of those connected to Luiz’s murder and for protection from LGBTQ+ violence in the area. Many were seen holding signs that said “Justice for Samuel” and rainbow flags with black ribbons on them.
  • Jose Minones, the government’s chief delegate over the area where Luiz was killed, stated in an interview that the incident being ruled a hate crime is not off the table. Minones stated that the investigation is ongoing and that the judge over the case will ultimately decide how to classify this heinous attack.
  • Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called Luiz’s murder a “savage and depraved act.” He has faith in the country’s justice system that all those involved in Luiz’s murder will be captured. Spain has made some efforts to protect the rights of those in the LGBTQ+ community, and Sánchez said he would not tolerate the country moving backward. He showcased his solidarity with those protesting via Twitter.

  • Homophobic attacks have increased over the past few years in many European countries. Two male doctors were attacked in Hungary for kissing in the club. Their attack came weeks after the country decided on an anti-LGBTQ+ law that removed all “educational materials in schools or content on children’s TV that displays diversion from one’s biological sex, change of gender, or portrays homosexuality.”
  • A lesbian couple on a London bus was left bruised and covered in blood after being attacked by teenagers. The group harassed the couple, trying to force them to kiss, and beat them up. This attack resulted in the arrest of five teens between the ages of 15 and 18.

Social rights minister Ione Belarra said she stood with the LGBTQ+ community and voiced that everyone should be free to be who they are. Minones claimed that future arrests may be made as police are still going through footage from security cameras and cell phones, as well as witness statements.

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Headlines

Supreme Court won’t overturn ruling against business that refused service for gay weddings

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The Supreme Court on Friday declined to wade into the contentious issue of whether businesses have a right to refuse service for same-sex wedding ceremonies despite state laws forbidding them from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

The court dodged the wedding question three years ago in a case involving a Colorado baker who said baking a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage would violate his right of free expression and religious beliefs. The issue came back in an appeal brought by Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Washington.

The court said Friday that it would not take up her appeal, leaving the state court rulings against her intact and again ducking the hot-button issue. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said the court should have taken the case.

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LGBTQIA+

The World’s First LGBTQ+ Cricket Match Held in the UK

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The historical event took place on Sunday at the Weoley Hill Cricket Club between the United Kingdom’s two LGBTQ+ cricket teams, the Birmingham Unicorns, and the Graces Cricket Club.

What We Know:

  • Players on both teams felt overjoyed at the inaugural game. Graces captain Stuart Anthony told AFP that the game symbolized more than just entertainment; it made a statement. Unicorns skipper Lachlan Smith added that the cricket match was “a celebration of inclusion”.

“If you’re into cricket, there’s a place for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re different — we have a home,” said Anthony.

  • The two clubs thought about playing each other after Smith came to the Graces for advice on starting an inclusive team. The country’s governing body for cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as well as the county team Warwickshire permitted the match to happen because of coronavirus relaxations.
  • The Graces and Unicorns found importance in creating teams that represent the LGBTQIA+ community in cricket. Certain athletes on the team previously felt the necessity to hide their sexuality for the sake of the sport. They even reported that a majority of players in other cricket clubs do the same thing.
  • For example, Smith grew up playing the sport but became disenchanted with it when he felt an incompatibility between his sexuality and the game. He spent fifteen years away from the sport and came out of the closet after playing with his current club for two years. Additionally, Anthony felt similar feelings about cricket. His emotions changed when he found an LGBTQ-inclusive team in 2009.
  • Despite the ECB supporting the LGBTQ+ community more and more in recent years, athletes and charities alike believe the organization could do more. National charity Stonewall’s Director of Programmes Liz Ward said that tackling discriminatory behaviors should not only rest on LGBTQIA+ athletes’ shoulders. Furthermore, Anthony believes complete acceptance of others in cricket will take a little longer. However, he also feels that the younger generations will be more open to LGBTQ+ athletes. Smith thinks more inclusive teams should pop up and play more matches, citing that it shouldn’t take another 25 years to occur.

The Graces became the UK’s first LGBTQ+ team in 1996; the Unicorns became the second team with its conception in March 2021.

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