The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Feb. 24 that it will hear 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 prospective parents who are LGBTQ.
Americans United urged the high court to use the case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, to make it clear that states and cities have the right to refuse to fund discriminatory adoption and foster care programs.
“Ensuring children have safe homes with loving families must be the number one priority for foster care agencies,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United. “That’s why no taxpayer-funded agency should be able to turn away qualified parents because they are the ‘wrong’ religion or LGBTQ.”
Officials in Philadelphia declined to contract with Catholic Social Services, which refuses to certify same-sex couples as foster parents. The Catholic agency sued, but a federal appeals court last year ruled in favor of the city.
Americans United is litigating a similar case in South Carolina. The organization represents Aimee Maddonna, a mother of three with a family legacy of helping children in foster care. Maddonna was turned away by Miracle Hill Ministries, a large, taxpayer-funded, social services provider in South Carolina because she’s Catholic. With AU’s help, she filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration and state officials who refused to end religious discrimination in the South Carolina foster care system.
The Supreme Court will hear the Fulton case during its 2020-21 term, which starts in October.