Feb 24, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case involving a faith-based foster care agency that wants to force the government to fund it with taxpayer dollars even while it violates anti-discrimination laws by rejecting qualified parents who are LGBTQ.

In response, Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:

“Ensuring children have safe homes with loving families must be the number one priority for foster care agencies. That’s why no taxpayer-funded agency should be able to turn away qualified parents because they are the ‘wrong’ religion or LGBTQ. Yet that’s what happened in Philadelphia and several states across the country – including South Carolina, where the Trump administration and state officials gave an evangelical Protestant agency the green light to reject our client Aimee Maddonna solely because she’s Catholic.

“Philadelphia officials were right to end discrimination in their foster care system. The Supreme Court should affirm the city’s decision and make clear to all government officials that religious freedom is not a license to discriminate. It’s a new low when we see religious freedom being weaponized to harm vulnerable children. Religious freedom, as promised by the Constitution, means that we are all free to practice our religion, or no religion, as we see fit, so long as we don’t harm others.”

Americans United represents Aimee Maddonna, a mother of three with a family legacy of helping children in foster care. The Maddonnas were turned away by Miracle Hill Ministries, a large, taxpayer-funded, social-services provider in South Carolina. Last year Aimee Maddonna filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration and state officials who refused to end religious discrimination in the South Carolina foster care system. More information about the lawsuit is available here.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.