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Bachmann, Cain: There’s A Constitutional Right To Government-Funded Anti-Gay Discrimination

September 06, 2011 4:15 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Yesterday, a handful of GOP presidential candidates met in South Carolina for the Palmetto Freedom Forum, sponsored by the American Principles Project. The event was co-moderated by Robert George, Chairman Emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

Apparently looking to rehash one of NOM’s anti-gay horror stories, George repeatedly prodded the candidates about their views on the Illinois Catholic adoption agencies that recently chose to opt out of providing government-funded adoption services rather than open their doors to gay and lesbian couples.

Without even a hint of irony, both Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) condemned the federal government for funding Illinois’ decision to “discriminate” against religious adoption agencies:

GEORGE: So my question is whether the federal government should be subsidizing states that discriminate against Catholic and other religious adoption agencies.

CAIN: No, because I believe in the First Amendment, so the federal government should not be subsidizing any situation where it’s discriminatory against any legitimate religion in this country.

GEORGE: Should the federal government be subsidizing states that discriminate against Catholic and other religious adoption agencies in this way?

BACHMANN: I believe in equal protection under the law, and this is clearly a situation where we have seen a disadvantage to children who are about to be placed either in foster care or in adoptive care, and again I believe that is one more example why the rulings of activist judges acting outside the original intent of the Constitution are so very dangerous to the foundation of the country. And it goes back to your previous question, which is ‘who has the right to make those rules?’ I believe as president of the United States, in conjunction with the United States Congress and Senate, that we need to revisit that and change our rules so that we can have an equal protection under the law so that all agencies can provide that important care to children.

GEORGE: But if a state legislature refuses to make funding available on equal terms to those providers who, as a matter of conscience, will not place children in same-sex homes, should federal legislation come in to protect the freedom of conscience of those religious providers even if the discrimination comes not from the courts but from the legislature?

BACHMANN: Well, yes I do. Because I believe that is, that is, that is a right that is guaranteed to every American under our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Unfortunately for anti-gay groups, neither the First Amendment nor the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment establishes a right to federal funding and an exemption from state non-discrimination laws. If Catholic adoption agencies wish to accept government money to provide adoption services, they should expect to play by government rules. If they choose, on the other hand, to put their own religious bigotry ahead of the needs of hundreds of foster kids, the government is in no way required to play along.


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