TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia regarding whether private foster care agencies that hold public government contracts can ignore anti-discrimination provisions and legally refuse to place children with LGBTQ+ people. The following statement is from Scott McCoy, interim deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center:
“When organizations like Catholic Social Services agree to contract with the City of Philadelphia and accept government funding for foster care services, they are expected to work in the best interests of children and abide by the provision in the public government contract that forbids discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, not impose their personal religious beliefs.
“Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or in this case, sexual orientation, not only denies these children safe and loving homes, it is unfair and illegal to any eligible adults who are willing and able to help children in need.
“As the Supreme Court makes its decision, we urge the justices to uphold Philadelphia’s compelling interest in prohibiting discrimination. Ruling otherwise would risk rendering civil rights laws vulnerable to attacks through the First Amendment, making discrimination against LGBTQ+ people as well as other marginalized groups de facto legal again.”