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Will Gay Adoption be the Next Major Religious Liberty Fight Decided by the Supreme Court?


A similar, major, legal battle on the par with the recent Christian baker case decided by the US Supreme Court on Monday, could be heading into federal courts soon.

Lawyers are already preparing their cases over laws in several US states which allow private agencies to block homosexual couples from adopting or caring for foster children due to their religious beliefs.

In a 7- 2 ruling, the justices sided with baker Jack Phillips who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, saying it would violate his Christian beliefs.

Nine states currently have laws allowing state-funded religiously affiliated adoption agencies to refuse to place children with homosexual couples due to their biblical beliefs. The states include, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia.

Observers say the legal challenges to those laws might eventually make their way to the Supreme Court. 

According to the US News and World Report, advocates for gay, bisexual and transgender people sued in Michigan last year over that state's restrictions, imposed in 2015, while a sweeping law passed in Mississippi a year later has already survived one legal challenge.

In another case, the Report cites the Catholic Social Services in Philadephia, which sued the city last month after city officials stopped placing children with the organization, because of its religious objections to gay marriage. 

In the adoption context, the baker's victory provided legal ammunition for religious groups facing litigation according to Matt Sharp, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told the Report.  The ADF represented Phillips and fights for religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.

"In my experience, a lot of the rhetoric being tossed around to justify why (private) agencies shouldn't be given (government) contracts has been that they are 'religious bigots,' a lot of the same language directed against Jack," Sharp said, referring to Phillips.

The high court saw the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's hostility toward religion when weighing the case and ruled it violated Phillips First Amendment religious rights.

The Supreme Court ruling made clear "that type of hostility is not permissible," Sharp said.

Twenty other states have anti-discrimination laws like Colorado's.

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