September 2018 Chuch & State Magazine - September 2018

Philadelphia Can Require Non-Discrimination In Adoption

  Rokia Hassanein

A federal judge has ruled that religious adoption agen­cies must abide by Philadelphia’s non-discrimination laws, dismissing a discrimination complaint by agencies that wanted to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ foster parents.

Two adoption agencies, Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services, accused officials at the Depart­ment of Human Services of religious discrimination be­cause the city enforced its non-discrimination laws, which prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people.

U.S. District Court Judge Petrese B. Tucker ruled July 13 that the city’s policy did not violate the religious-freedom rights of Catholic Social Services. Tucker said the Depart­ment of Human Services had a legitimate interest in en­suring “that the pool of foster parents and resource caregivers is as diverse and broad as the children in need of foster parents,” reported the news site Philly.com.

Catholic Social Services later asked an appeals court to issue an injunction putting the ruling on hold, but the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused the request. 

The discrimination policy caused real harm. Megan Paszko and her wife were told by Bethany Christian Services that they can’t foster from them because they’re a same-sex couple.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Paszko told Philly.com. “There are so many kids out there who need homes, you’re really go­ing to deny them a good one?”  (Fulton v. City of Phila­del­phia)

BREAKING NEWS

Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.


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