Catholic League sues San Francisco over Catholic
Charities LGBT adoption resolution
By Pat Murphy
April 4, 2006, 4:30 p.m.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights today asked
the Federal courts to strike down a resolution passed by the San
Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Sponsored by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, the March 21 resolution
was critical of Catholic Charities policy on adoption placements
in to same-sex couple families.
Ammiano predicted the Catholic League "will continue to
embarrass itself," the San Francisco Supervisor told the
"It's Catholic Charities who received money from the City.
"You don't play by our rules - you don't get the money."
The resolution authorted by Ammiano constituted a "State
intrusion into Church affairs," Kiera McCauffrey told the
McCauffrey serves as Communications Director for the New York
based Catholic League.
It came in response to a statement in which former San Francisco
Archbishop William Levada said earlier in March that
"It has been, and remains, my position that Catholic agencies
should not place children for adoption in homosexual households."
Levada, who was
made a cardinal on March 24 and is now an official at the
Vatican, headed the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
from 1995 to 2005.
The Thomas More Center, a Michigan-based public interest law
firm representing the league, said the lawsuit contends that the
First Amendment "forbids an official purpose to disapprove
of a particular religion, religious beliefs or of religion in
Robert Muise, the center lawyer handling the case, said, "The
Constitution forbids hostility toward any religion."
Muise alleged that "homosexual activists in positions of
authority in San Francisco are abusing their authority as government
officials and misusing the instruments of government to attack
the Catholic Church."
The San Francisco City Attorney had not received the court filing
as of midday today, reported City Attorney press officer Matt
Catholic League founder William Donoghue said in a prepared statement
that a legal remedy is necessary.
"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 inevitable result is the creation of a chilling effect
on the rights of the faithful.
"This is a matter so serious that no apology can ever suffice
to undo the injurious effects that the resolution triggered. A
legal remedy is needed."
San Francisco archdiocese spokesman Maurice Healy said last month
that the archdiocese's social service agency, Catholic Charities
of San Francisco, allowed five same-sex couple adoptions out of
a total of 136 it arranged beginning in 2000.
Healy said church teaching "precludes adoption by same-sex
couples," but said the archdiocese is reviewing its adoption
program to look for ways to make sure that children in need find
The lawsuit seeks $1 in financial damages to two San Franciscans
represented by the Thomas More Law Center.
Bay City News Service staff writer Julia Cheever contributed
to this report.