The Supreme Court Is Probably Going to Let a Social Services Organization Discriminate Against Same-Sex Foster Parents

Illustration for article titled The Supreme Court Is Probably Going to Let a Social Services Organization Discriminate Against Same-Sex Foster Parents
Image: AP

The newly draconian Supreme Court is likely to side with a Philadelphia-based Catholic social services agency that will not allow same-sex couples to become foster parents. Opposing this decision is the city of Philadelphia, which says it forbids the agencies it works with from discriminating.


According to the AP, Catholic Social Services, which is tied to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, says it shouldn’t be excluded from a contract with the city just because it believes that same-sex couples aren’t fit to be foster parents. You can probably imagine how Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are going to feel about this. From the AP:

Kavanaugh, for his part, suggested Wednesday there should be a way for Catholic Social Services to continue to work with foster families. The case, Kavanaugh said, requires the justices to think about how to balance “very important rights” the court has recognized: religious rights and the right to same-sex marriage.

“It seems when those rights come into conflict, all levels of government should be careful and should often, where possible and appropriate, look for ways to accommodate both interests in reasonable ways,” he said.


In an op-ed for the Washington Post, one foster mother that supports CSS wrote that the “ministry is under attack from Philadelphia authorities and activists who would rather see children suffer than allow religious charities to live out their beliefs.”

But contrary to the specter of children being abandoned on the streets, several of the justices noted during arguments that any same-sex couple who asked to work with Catholic Relief Services was referred to another of one of the two dozen agencies the city works with.

Previously, two lower courts have sided with Philadelphia. As Justice Elena Kagan asked, “If there’s an agency that refuses to employ women, would the state have to contract with that agency?” Don’t give them any ideas! 

Night blogger at Jezebel

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If your religion prevents you from fulfilling your contract, I don’t think you get to insist that the terms of the contract be changed.