Rules in Favor of Adoption Agency

“A city-funded foster and adoption agency that opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds can be exempted from serving such couples, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday (June 17). In an unanimous ruling, the justices once again showed they were receptive to claims by religious groups–in this case Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with same-sex couples. The agency had contracted with the city of Philadelphia to screen potential foster parents. Beginning in 2018, the city of Philadelphia ended its contract with CSS, claiming that the organization violated a city ordinance banning discrimination. In Fulton v. Philadelphia, the court said Philadelphia was wrong to end a contract with the Catholic agency. Catholic Social Services and two foster parents–one named Sharonell Fulton–sued the city, claiming the free exercise clause in the First Amendment gives the agency the right to opt out of the nondiscrimination requirement. A lower court and a federal circuit court ruled in the city’s favor, so CSS appealed to the Supreme Court. The opinion, by Chief Justice John Roberts, reversed the circuit court ruling. ‘The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,’ the opinion states. A study published earlier this year found a 35 percentage-point increase in the rate of Supreme Court rulings that favor religion over the past 70 years.”

“Supreme court rules in favor,” Religion News Service, June 17, 2021