Friday, July 19, 2024

Supreme Court hands down ruling in Fulton v. Philadelphia

The Supreme Court today decided unanimously 9-0 that religion supersedes the law, when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

The Court issued a ruling in favor of Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The ruling, specific to the circumstances of this case, held that the City of Philadelphia violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment because it failed to grant CSS an exemption from the City’s nondiscrimination requirements even though the City’s contract provisions allowed it the discretion to provide such an exemption.

The case came before the Supreme Court after the CSS, a faith-based foster care agency, refused to license same-sex couples as foster parents, despite a provision in Philadelphia’s contract prohibiting all city contractors from discriminating.  

“The Court’s decision is yet another reminder of the importance of legislation like the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act and the Equality Act,” says Family Equality’s Chief Policy Officer, Shelbi Day

We urgently need more local, state, and nationwide nondiscrimination protections to ensure that the more than 400,000 youth in foster care have the best possible chance of finding safe, affirming homes.

Shelbi Day, Family Equality

To read more about the case:

In August 2020, Family Equality—joined by PFLAG National and represented by our pro bono counsel, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP—submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the City of Philadelphia, sharing the stories of LGBTQ+ adults who have been discriminated against when trying to foster and adopt children to illustrate the real-life impact of making it harder to find homes for the more than 400,000 children in care who need them.  

Family Equality will join NEAT and other partners for a Virtual Rally (7:00 p.m. ET) and Town Hall to react to the decision with speakers, performances, and experts providing analysis of the opinion. RSVP at

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