A married lesbian couple, both of whom are professors at Texas A&M University, have sued the Trump administration after being denied the right to serve as refugee foster parents via a government-funded non-profit. They were told they had to “mirror the holy family,” according to the lawsuit.
Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin tried to become foster parents for refugee children last year, but Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, which receives taxpayer funds, rejected the application on the basis of their sexual orientation. The charity said they were denied as soon as it became clear they were in a same-sex marriage.
The Catholic Charities of Fort Worth receives taxpayer funding to help find foster parents for refugee children, in the form of sub-grants from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which receives grants from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.
This isn’t the first time in which we’ve seen alleged abuses linked to the Trump administration’s refugee settlement offices. They have also been accused of denying safe abortions to young teen immigrant women, pushing a blatantly biased, anti-choice agenda.
In this case, two completely capable foster parents were rejected based on nothing but their sexual orientation. Their argument is based in part on the Constitution.
Marouf, a law professor, and Esplin, who teaches bioethics, are being represented in the case by lawyers with Lambda Legal, a prominent LGBT rights nonprofit based in New York. They say their treatment violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause as well as the equal protection enshrined in the Fifth Amendment.
The defendants, which include HHS, the ORR and the USCCB, “have discriminated and continue to discriminate impermissibly against individuals, including Plaintiffs, based on religion, their sexual orientation, their sex, and the same-sex character of their marriage, by funding the administration of services that they are on notice are being administered in a manner that disfavors same-sex relationships,” the lawsuit argues.
These women are professors and well-meaning people who could fully care for these refugee children. Those kids need a loving family more than anything else in the world. But because they don’t fit the definition of a traditional family (according to Catholic tradition), everyone loses.
It’s one thing for a Catholic group to discriminate on its own, but there’s absolutely no reason the charity should be allowed to take taxpayer dollars to promote its brand of bigotry while refusing to help the children in their care.
(Screenshot via WFAA)