The Supreme Court could soon implement a broad right to discriminate.

By Megan Clayton • August 20, 2020 • 4:22 pm

A case currently being heard by the Supreme Court, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, will impact the lives of nearly half a million children who are in the foster care system.

Catholic Social Services, a taxpayer-funded foster care agency, is violating Philadelphia law by refusing to certify same-sex couples. CSS says its religious objections make it exempt from the city’s nondiscrimination law. Soon, the Supreme Court will weigh in on whether these agencies have a constitutional right to discriminate.

That’s why today, more than 1,000 faith and local leaders from across the political spectrum filed briefs with the Supreme Court, supporting same-sex couples and firmly opposing the creation of a right to discriminate, including:

“As a foster and adoptive parent, I personally know the importance of placing children in the foster care system with qualified, loving families. I can’t imagine denying a child a potential home in order to discriminate against the qualified parent seeking to care for someone in need. As a Republican, I believe religious agencies that voluntarily enter a taxpayer-funded government contract must meet their governmental obligations and should not be exempt from abiding by nondiscrimination requirements. In signing this brief, I urge the Supreme Court not to allow sweeping, extraordinary exemptions that may harm communities that are already vulnerable and to issue a ruling that ensures fairness for everyone.”
– Dan Zwonitzer, a longtime Republican member of the Wyoming House of Representatives and a foster and adoptive parent

“As a mayor, I know that my constituents need access to services from a wide variety of contractors and service providers without fear of discrimination. A loss in this case could result in taxpayer-funded agencies — such as foster care agencies, food banks, and homeless shelters — having a broad right to discriminate. A negative outcome in this case could harm all of my constituents but especially the most vulnerable members of our community. No one should worry about being turned away from crucial services because of who they are or what they believe.”
– Mayor Jeffrey Slavin of Somerset, MD

“As a person of faith, I believe discrimination of any kind is wrong. As a Christian, I am called to put my faith into action and to love and respect all of my neighbors. Freedom of religion is crucial and must continue to be protected, but it should never be used to prevent all people from being treated fairly or as a way to hurt, marginalize, and oppress certain groups of people. A negative outcome in this case could allow taxpayer-funded agencies to turn away LGBTQ people and others from critical services including foster care, food banks, hospitals, and more. I’m proud to be a signer on this brief and to send a message to the Supreme Court urging them to do the right thing and ensure equal protection for all Americans.”
– Rev. Kate E. Smith, the Pastor of Mission & Outreach at Hyde Park UMC in Cincinnati, Ohio

We’re working hard to raise awareness about this case. A bad decision would put vulnerable children at risk and establish a broad right for taxpayer-funded religious organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ and other Americans.

“We all cherish our constitutional freedom of religion, and that’s why our country has long balanced it with nondiscrimination protections that ensure all people are treated equally. The outcome of this case matters to all Americans, because discriminating in the provision of taxpayer-funded government services — as this foster care agency seeks to do — crosses an unprecedented line that could lead to dangerous consequences, particularly for the most vulnerable among us.”
– Kasey Suffredini, CEO and national campaign director of Freedom for All Americans

Learn more about this case, what’s at stake, and who’s supporting LGBTQ nondiscrimination at the Supreme Court by checking out our Supreme Court Action Center.

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