(LifeSiteNews) – The Maryland Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on August 14 that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is not required to extend marriage benefits to “married” homosexuals under state law.
In a lawsuit that has been ongoing for years, a homosexual data analyst suing anonymously under the name “John Doe” accused CRS of sexual discrimination, breach of contract, detrimental reliance, and negligent misrepresentation on the grounds that CRS supposedly reneged on assurance that his “husband” would be extended employee medical insurance, and that CRS threatened to fire him if he pursued the matter further.
As covered by LifeSiteNews and the Lepanto Institute in 2020, the suit highlighted multiple details casting doubt on CRS’s fidelity to Catholic principles, including having a senior executive vice president in a same-sex “marriage” and then-CEO Dr. Carolyn Woo claiming there was “not a clear path” as to whether Catholic organizations should or should not employ people in same-sex “marriages” for “non-ministerial” positions.
Still, CRS initially covered Doe’s “husband,” according to legal records, but ended that coverage in late 2017. Doe claims CRS is in violation of Maryland’s Fair Employment Practices Act (MFEPA), which covers discrimination in employment.
The Dialog reports that U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake sided with Doe last year on the grounds that his position “does not involve CRS’ spiritual or ministerial functions.” CRS appealed, and this month Maryland’s highest court sided with CRS.
“(1) The prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex in MFEPA does not itself also prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, which is separately covered under MFEPA,” the majority ruled. “(2) MEPEWA does not prohibit sexual orientation discrimination; and (3) MFEPA’s religious entity exemption applies with respect to claims by employees who perform duties that directly future the core mission of the religious entity.”
Maryland’s Democrat Attorney General Anthony Brown condemned the ruling and called on the state legislature to pass new legislation forcing religious employers to recognize homosexual unions.
“The Maryland Supreme Court’s decision declining to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s protection of people on the basis of sexual orientation and identity in employment is a disheartening setback,” he said. “But it won’t stop us. I’m calling on the Maryland General Assembly to rectify this setback during the next legislative session, and I will stand by them every step of the way.”
While CRS’s lawsuit is a victory for religious liberty and those who hold to a Biblical understanding of marriage, CRS itself has a troubled history, including former CEO Woo’s past role as co-chair of “Catholics for Biden” and promotion of “compromise” on abortion, and CRS’s promotion of “comprehensive” sex education curriculum including pornographic material and contraception.