Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Oral Argument in Adoption Case Today

The City of Philadelphia requires adoption and foster care agencies to abide by nondiscrimination ordinances protecting LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents.
image via City of Philadelphia
Wednesday, November 6, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is hearing oral argument in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In this case, Catholic Social Services (CSS) sued the City of Philadelphia demanding that the city renew their contract for adoption and foster services. The city had refused because CSS discriminates against gay couples in defiance of a city ordinance.

CSS argued that they had a right to discriminate against otherwise qualified parents as a matter of religious freedom. On July 13, 2018 the Court rejected that argument and refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the city.

Three days later, July 16, 2018, CSS asked the Third Circuit for an emergency injunction. The Court refused. On July 31, CSS petitioned the Supreme Court for an emergency injunction. On August 30, 2018 the Court denied the motion.

An interesting development is the fact that Philadelphia has apparently not been negatively impacted by the departure of Catholic Social Services from adoptions and foster care. This refutes the conservative Christian talking point that requiring religious agencies to comply with nondiscrimination laws forces them out of business to the detriment of children. Other agencies that do not discriminate have filled the void.

I have never understood how reducing the pool of eligible parents provides better service to children. At one time Catholic Charities of Boston was quietly placing children with gays and gay couples. In 2004, when Massachusetts effected marriage equality, the Catholic bishops had a shit fit and forced Catholic Charities to terminate adoption and foster care services because, under the direction of the bishops, the agency was unable to comply with state nondiscrimination laws.

That causes me to ask: Are they really discriminating against LGBTQ people due to religious belief or are they doing so to create a consequence of same-sex marriage? After all, they will place children with single people who might be gay as long as they are not in a same-sex living arrangement. It makes no sense.

I am trying to get some highlights from the attorneys at the ACLU. They are notorious for not responding until the ACLU issues a press release. Stay tuned.

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