Amy Coney Barrett could begin chipping away at LGBT+ rights as early as next week

Amy Coney Barrett looks on during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing

Amy Coney Barrett and her fellow conservative Supreme Court justices could begin stripping LGBT+ rights as early as next week, advocates fear.

Barrett was sworn in only a few days ago but she could already start wielding influence as the court hears arguments in Fulton v City of Philadelphia, a case that will decide whether faith-based foster agencies should be allowed to bar prospective LGBT+ parents.

It’s a case that will test the separation of church and state – an issue on which Barrett’s record is “deeply problematic”, said Rachel Laser, CEO of the nonprofit Americans United.

“She has shown that she would allow claims of religious freedom to be misused to harm women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities and the nonreligious, among many others,” Laser said in a statement to NBC News.

Currey Cook, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, agreed that Barrett’s “history and prior statements” about religious exemptions are “alarming” and have led him to conclude that she would “be inclined to grant certain groups special permission because of their faith”.

That fear is particularly relevant in this case, as it concerns the Catholic Social Services (CSS) run by the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The CSS is challenging a ruling that refuses them the ability to deny services to LGBT+ parents, as well as any other people they consider to be in violation of their religious beliefs.

“The sheer breadth of what CSS is asking from the Supreme Court should trouble everyone concerned about the wellbeing of children in foster care – especially LGBTQ foster children,” said Lambda Legal’s M Currey Cook.

“Allowing foster care agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking to foster sends a clear message to LGBTQ youth in care that there’s something unacceptable about who they are and that they aren’t equal under the law. It also exposes them to harm due to lack of family home placements likely to meet their needs.”

Barrett’s strong Catholic faith came under the spotlight in her confirmation hearing, with the media drawing attention to her extensive ties to the secretive anti-LGBT+ religious group People of Praise.

According to former members, the group’s basic premise is that “the devil controlled everything outside of the community,” and anyone who engages in “sinful” homosexuality is excommunicated.

Amy Coney Barrett insisted that her religious beliefs would not “bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge” – and the upcoming Supreme Court case will certainly put that claim to the test.