Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: When Discrimination Does Not Get in the Way

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia is a Supreme Court case that could have profound impact on LGBTQ+ families and youth in foster care. Family Equality filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in this case. The brief aims to lift up the experiences of LGBTQ+ foster parents. As the Supreme Court inches closer to a decision in this case, we’re highlighting voices from our brief to show the real-life impact of discrimination. To read the amicus brief we submitted to the Supreme Court, click here.

Rob and Reece’s Story

“I always knew I wanted to be a dad. Honestly, being a parent was the most important goal I had. I wanted to be the kind of parent I never had. I will never forget the day our first two children arrived.”

Rob and Reece have adopted five children from the foster care system. Rob himself formerly experienced foster care and was separated from his own siblings by the system. He wasn’t going to let that happen to other kids in care. So, after initially planning to adopt just one child, they welcomed two sibling sets with open arms as foster children. They adopted one set in 2010 and the other in 2012.

The children are thriving, but they didn’t get there without hurdles. Rob and Reece’s application had been put at the bottom of the stack because of their sexual orientation, and they had to wait more than six months after becoming licensed foster parents to receive a placement.

“We knew we couldn’t just let this child go without a family when there was one waiting for him.”

They recently adopted their fifth child at the age of 18, just before he aged out of care. But even now, with their extensive experience as foster parents, Rob and Reece again faced discrimination because of their sexual orientation. Fortunately, because of their advocacy for youth in foster care (Rob runs a nonprofit to help youth in the foster care system), they had the right connections to make the adoption happen.

But they know all too well that not everyone has those connections, and that the discrimination they faced could have resulted in a child without a home.

“Adopting our beautiful children has been, without a doubt, the biggest blessing of our lives.”

There is no doubt that, when given the opportunity, same-sex couples provide loving, nurturing homes for children in care. Also, LGBTQ+ couples are more likely to accept children that are often considered “difficult to place” – sibling sets, older children, children with special educational needs, and children with behavioral challenges. Rob and Reece are a quintessential example, having adopted two sibling sets and an 18-year-old who had been in the system since he was five years old.

Turning away qualified LGBTQ couples who provide loving homes and help kids thrive—like Rob and Reece are doing for their 5 kids—imply makes no sense.

Learn more about Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

#DecisionDay Fulton

#DecisionDay: Fulton

The Supreme Court will issue its opinion in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia this spring. On the day the court issues its opinion, we’re joining NEAT and other partners for a Virtual Rally and Town Hall. The rally will be a chance for us to gather together as a community to react to the decision, support each other and hear from speakers and performances. Then, the Town Hall will feature experts providing analysis of the opinion, how it will affect our lives, and what still needs to be done. RSVP to those events here.