Scroll To Top

Denver Archdiocese Sues to Deny LGBTQ+ Families Access to Preschool

Denver Archdiocese Sues to Deny LGBTQ+ Families Access to Preschool

<p>Denver Archdiocese Sues to Deny LGBTQ+ Families Access to Preschool</p>

While it certainly appears to be discriminatory, the group’s attorney says it’s not actually discrimination.

The Archdiocese of Denver and two of its parishes filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado's Department of Early Childhood on Wednesday, seeking to overrule an antidiscrimination policy held by the state's universal preschool program protecting LGBTQ+ families or students.

According to the Catholic group, enforcing nondiscrimination policies violates the First Amendment and the right to free exercise of faith.

All eligible families in Colorado can now take advantage of 15 hours of taxpayer-funded preschool per week due to a law signed into law by gay Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in 2022.

Because participating schools must accept students regardless of religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, the Catholic organization views this program as incompatible with Catholicism.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado, although the archdiocese does not offer an alternative term for the exclusion of students based on their or their parents’ attributes, attorneys for the archdiocese maintain that, in their view, this doesn’t constitute “discrimination.”

“Abiding by Catholic teaching on these issues would violate the Department’s ban on sexual orientation and gender identity ’discrimination,’ though Plaintiffs do not believe adhering to these beliefs constitutes discrimination,” attorneys wrote.

“[T]he Archdiocese instructs all Catholic schools, including St. Mary’s and St. Bernadette’s, to consider whether a family or child seeking placement in their schools has identified as LGBTQ, is in a same-sex relationship, or has adopted a gender identity different from his or her biological sex,” the lawsuit reads. “Yet taking sexual orientation and gender identity into account in this way would violate the Department’s ban on sexual orientation and gender identity ‘discrimination.’”

Thus, the lawsuit claims that St. Mary’s, St. Bernadette’s, and any other preschool within the Archdiocese of Denver cannot sign the mandatory UPK Program Service Agreement.

Since the program also prohibits religious discrimination, the lawsuit claims that the group’s rights were violated because it prioritizes admitting Catholic families to its schools.

Polis’s spokesperson Conor Cahill noted the governor’s disappointment with the move in a statement, according to Colorado Public Radio.

“While it’s unfortunate to see different groups of adults attempting to co-opt preschool for themselves, perhaps because they want to not allow gay parents to send their kids to preschool, or they want to favor school district programs over community-based early childhood centers, the voters were clear on their support for parent choice and a universal, mixed delivery system that is independently run, that doesn’t discriminate against anyone and offers free preschool to every child no matter who their parents are,” Cahill said.

Advocate Magazine - Gio BenitezAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories