The US Supreme Court granted certiorari Monday in Philadelphia v. Fulton, in which a Catholic foster care agency is arguing it is allowed to refuse to work with same-sex couples on religious grounds while receiving government funding.
Catholic Social Services (CSS) claimed a First Amendment right to refuse to allow same-sex couples and LGBTQ people to adopt from or become foster parents within its agency, which uses taxpayer funds. In 2018 the city of Philadelphia learned of CSS’s policy and ceased referring children to these agencies or providing it with funding, claiming it went against city policy to fund an organization that discriminates on these grounds. CSS sued Philadelphia in federal court, seeking the organization’s funding be restored. On appeal, a unanimous panel in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in April that the city’s decision to freeze the agency from government funding did not violate CSS’s First Amendment rights to free speech or religion.
In its petition for certiorari, CSS argues this violates free exercise, and that this violation conditions “a religious agency’s ability to participate in the foster care system on taking actions and making statements that directly contradict the agency’s religious beliefs.”