Supreme Court Appears Poised to Rule for Foster Care Agency Against LGBTQ Couples

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Professor Elizabeth Cooper, faculty director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice, shared her expert opinion with The Washington Blade on the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, being argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.

With a new 6-3 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, conservative justices appeared to side Wednesday with a religious-affiliated agency seeking a First Amendment right to reject LGBTQ couples in foster care services.

In the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Catholic Social Services argues a First Amendment right to refuse to place children with same-sex couples even though it signed a contract with Philadelphia agreeing not to engage in anti-LGBTQ discrimination through its taxpayer-funded activities.

During oral arguments, conservative justices — displaying open animosity toward non-discrimination rules for religious institutions — seemed poised to rule to allow Catholic Social Services to reject LGBTQ couples in foster care services.

Liz Cooper, a Fordham law professor and the director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice, said in a statement after the argument the resolution to the case should be simple.

“The City of Philadelphia asks no more of CSS than that it adheres to the city’s laws prohibiting discrimination,” Cooper said. “CSS, and similarly situated agencies, are free to pursue their beliefs that LGBTQ people and couples should not be parents, but not when it seeks to carry out the mission of the city — namely, to provide safe and loving homes for children and teenagers in need.

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