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Marouf v. Azar

Case Concerning Discrimination in Foster Care

Key Date: June 12, 2019
Status: Pending Before U.S. District Court of District of Columbia
Legal Team: Lambda Legal
Type: Other LGBT Litigation

Marouf Case Overview:

Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin are a married lesbian couple who made the decision to become foster parents for a child. After learning of an agency funded through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that worked with resettlement of refugee children, they scheduled an interview with the agency. During their interview, after disclosing that they were a married couple, the affiliate’s Director of International Refugee Resettlement told them they would not place a child with them, stating that their family did not “mirror the Holy Family.”

Latest in the Case:

After suit was filed by Lambda Legal in February of 2018, lawyers for the defendant, Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, filed a motion to dismiss in May. On June 18, Lambda Legal filed their opposition to the motion; the case is still pending before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Case History:

  • 2017: Marouf and Esplin are turned away by the USCCB-affiliated foster care agency.
  • February 23, 2018Lambda Legal files suit on behalf of the couple against Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • May 21, 2018The lawyers for the defendants file a motion to dismiss, claiming lack of jurisdiction.
  • June 18, 2018: Lambda Legal files an opposition to the motion to dismiss.
  • November 2018: A district court hears arguments on the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss this case.
  • June 12, 2019: The district court denies the motion to dismiss.

Last Updated March 1, 2020

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