Today, the US Supreme Court ruled that Philadelphia may not bar a Catholic agency that refused to work with same-sex couples from screening potential foster parents. In August 2020, Children’s Rights filed an amicus brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia urging SCOTUS to uphold Philadelphia’s non-discrimination policy, arguing that otherwise children in child welfare could be denied a loving foster home based solely on the religious beliefs of adoption agencies.
In response, Christina Wilson Remlin, lead counsel at Children’s Rights, issued the following statement:
The Supreme Court’s 9 – 0 ruling is based on narrow grounds limited to the facts of this case. The Supreme Court held that Philadelphia’s non-discrimination requirement in foster care contracts was not generally applicable because the contracts provided for a mechanism of individualized exemptions at the sole discretion of the City’s child welfare Commissioner. We are disappointed that the ruling allows CSS to use taxpayer funds to discriminate against LGBTQ+ couples and sends a message to LGBTQ+ children that their rights are not protected and their identities are not valued — but we are gratified that the national implications are limited. The court’s decision drives home why we need to pass federal legislation to provide consistent anti-discrimination protections for all LGBTQ+ people and, additionally, legislation to protect the dignity of youth in child welfare systems by ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.