The Trump Administration is filing a brief before the Supreme Court supporting anti-gay discrimination by adoption agencies that receive government funding.
It’s part of the lawsuit Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that is before the court. A lower court had found the city was justified when it declined to renew the contract of the Catholic Social Services agency because it discriminated against LGBTQ+ families.
The city of Philadelphia has protective custody of over 5,000 abused and neglected children, and every year the city signs contracts with private foster-care agencies to help place these children. The agencies help potential foster parents complete the certification process, and are partially reimbursed for their expenses. The city provides prospective foster parents with a listing of the agencies from which to contact for help, and many of them “specialize in helping particular groups—such as Latino children, Native American children, and children of teenage mothers.”
The question before the court is whether the city can allow these agencies to discriminate against prospective foster parents who do not share their beliefs. Back in November, the Department of Heath and Human Services proposed a regulatory change that would allow this discrimination. Now, a new 35-page brief by the Trump administration leans into that.
The actual case doesn't involve the federal government but the U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco was among the authors who submitted the missive claiming that the City of Philadelphia discriminated against Catholic Social Services on the basis of religion. The ruling in the case will likely be used as precedent natioinwide. The ACLU is representing two groups involved in the case.
"Our clients in this case are a child welfare organiation and an LGBTQ families organization in Philadelphia," the organization wrote in a tweet. "Children and families — not an agency's religous beliefs — must come first."
Catholic Social Services, as a policy, refuses to assist "households headed by unmarried couples.” And since they adhere to their belief that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman, “it regards all same-sex couples as unmarried.” When this became known by the City of Philadelphia in March 2018, they announced they would terminate the contract. Catholic Social Services sued as a result. In February, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Full text of the brief can be read here.