San Francisco Criticism Of Vatican Survives Court Review

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal by conservative Catholics who claim the San Francisco Board of Supervisors violated their rights by criticizing the Vatican.

In 2006, the board passed a resolution condemning a Vatican official’s decree that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt. Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said such adoptions would do “violence to these children” and effectively prevented Catholic Charities from placing children with gay couples.

In response, the city adopted a non-binding resolution calling the decree “hateful and discriminatory” and asking local church officials to ignore it. Catholic Charities of San Francisco, however, stopped its adoption services all together.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a right-wing advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the city, asking a federal judge to strike down the resolution because it was “anti-Catholic.”

The district court dismissed the challenge, and a three-judge panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the that action. The case was then heard by a full panel of 11 appellate judges, who voted 8-3 to reject the lawsuit.

The high court’s decision not to hear Catholic League v. San Francisco leaves the resolution in place.