Supreme Court to Hear Foster Care Discrimination Case Involving Religious Minorities and LGBTQ Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Today the Supreme Court agreed to hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case that could have a profound impact on the lives of more than 440,000 children living in foster care across the country. In Fulton, a provider of taxpayer-funded foster care services that had contracted with the City of Philadelphia claims a constitutional right to discriminate against same-sex couples when providing child welfare services, as a result of their religious objections to working with LGBTQ families.

“We are already facing a shortage of prospective foster and adoptive families nationwide, at a time when there are close to half a million children in foster care. As Family Equality argued in an Amicus brief submitted in this case, when providing foster care and adoption services it is critical that the needs of children come first,” said The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality. “Freedom of religion is important and is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Yet freedom of religion does not allow anyone to impose their beliefs on others. Allowing taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies to turn away qualified families based on religious requirements that are unrelated to their ability to provide loving homes for children is discrimination, plain and simple, and will make the existing foster care crisis even worse.”

Both the district court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals have already rejected the agency’s spurious claim, correctly ruling that the City of Philadelphia can require agencies that accept taxpayer funding to provide foster care services for children to work with all qualified families.

Read more about the Amicus brief filed by Family Equality in Fulton

About Family Equality

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ+ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at

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