Hail Mary Appeal Won’t Save Suit Against S.F.

     (CN) – The Supreme Court Monday closed the book on a Catholic group’s lawsuit, dismissed by the full 9th Circuit last year, over San Francisco’s nonbinding resolution that denounced the Vatican’s stance on gay adoptions.

     The federal appeals court voted 8-3 in October 2010 to uphold dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and two local residents after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a nonbinding resolution that urged Catholic charities to allow same-sex adoption.
     The 2006 resolution states: “It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great City’s existing and established customs and traditions, such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need.”
     The resolution denounces as “absolutely unacceptable” statements by Cardinal William Levada and the Vatican that “Catholic agencies should not place children for adoption in homosexual households,” and “Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children.”
     “Such hateful and discriminatory rhetoric is both insulting and callous, and shows a level of insensitivity and ignorance which has seldom been encountered by this Board of Supervisors,” the resolution states.
     A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit upheld the resolution last June, but the court later voted to rehear the case before a full 11-judge panel.
     The larger panel voted 8-3 to reject the lawsuit, but the majority did not address the underlying issue of whether the resolution violated the separation of church and state.
     The six judges who addressed that question were divided 3-3. The remaining five judges said the court need not decide the Establishment Clause issue, because the Catholic plaintiffs failed to allege that the resolution “applies to them in some direct and concrete manner.”
     As is its custom, the Supreme Court did not comment in rejecting the petition for review.

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