During an appearance on CNN this morning, Newt Gingrich defended his false claim that same-sex marriage laws have forced Catholic Charities and other religious institutions to shut down their adoption services. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien tried to fact-check the former House speaker. “Isn’t what really happened that if the church decided it was going to continue to take federal funds and have access to those foster children that they couldn’t discriminate against gay couples who wanted to adopt, they weren’t really forced to close, they made the decision,” the CNN host asked. “No, no. they were forced to close,” Gingrich responded:
GINGRICH: Because you’re saying to religious group, give up your religion. That’s absurd. The idea that the state would impose its secular values on a religious organization is an absurdity.
O’BRIEN: If you want funding. Isn’t that if you want funding.
GINGRICH: No. No. In Massachusetts.
O’BRIEN: You can do whatever you want but if you want funding.
GINGRICH: No, that’s not true. That’s not true. There are states now, including the District of Columbia, which essentially adopt laws that say you can’t offer an adoption service unless you meet the secular standards of the state. They are in effect saying the secular standards of the state are more important than religious freedom. I think it is inherently anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. It is in favor of a secular model, that I think is wrong. And I think that it’s wrong for the government to impose its values on religion. That’s the whole point of the First Amendment, is to not have the government imposing values on religion.
O’Brien is right, of course: religious adoption services have a right to believe whatever they want under the First Amendment, but they cannot use tax payer funding to treat gay and lesbian couples like second-class citizens. DC Catholic Charities — which received government funding — voluntarily shut down rather than provide adoption services to same-sex couples and Catholic Charities in Massachusetts “refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law. After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill ‘condoning discrimination’ — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006.”