House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church

The Bigotry at the Heart of Fulton v. Philadelphia: A Statement from President Jennings

As a priest in the Episcopal Church, where we have struggled for decades to treat LGBTQ+ people with the dignity they deserve and God demands, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Scholars can debate the broader legal implications of the decision, but as a Christian, I continue to be alarmed by the bigotry that lies at the case’s heart.

Religious liberty is a bedrock of our country and a right cherished by Americans of many faiths. But disguising homophobia as religious freedom, as the plaintiffs in this case have done, is not only a dangerous legal precedent, it is a gross distortion of the teachings of Jesus.

Along with millions of other people of faith, I believe in the equality of LGBTQ+ families because of my faith, not in spite of it. The Bible teaches us to care for the most vulnerable people among us, but today’s ruling could prevent loving, inclusive families in Philadelphia from caring for LGBTQ+ youth as the beloved children of God that they are. It breaks my heart that this campaign of exclusion and discrimination is being waged by my fellow Christians, and I pray for the LGBTQ+ families that will suffer because of it.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings serves as president of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. She was the lead signer on an amicus brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia signed by nearly 430 interfaith leaders.