Skip to content

Foster moms ask Supreme Court to hear Philadelphia case

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
7/23/2019 (4 weeks ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Two foster moms are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the right of a Catholic foster agency in Philadelphia to contract with the city without being required to place children with same-sex couples.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
7/23/2019 (4 weeks ago)

Published in U.S.


Philadelphia, Pa., (CNA) - "As the City of Philadelphia attempts to shamelessly score political points, dozens of beds remain empty and children are suffering the consequences," said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, which is representing the moms and the Catholic foster agency.

"It's time for the Supreme Court to weigh in and allow faith-based agencies to continue doing what they do best: giving vulnerable children loving homes."

media id="27465"]

Sharonell Fulton, one of the plaintiffs in the case, has fostered more than 40 children through Catholic Social Services.

"As a single mom and woman of color, I've known a thing or two about discrimination over the years. But I have never known vindictive religious discrimination like this, and I feel the fresh sting of bias watching my faith publicly derided by Philadelphia's politicians," she wrote in an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer last year.

Toni Simms-Busch, the other foster mother in the case, said in a statement that she valued the freedom of choosing the foster agency that she felt best suited her needs.

"As a social worker I evaluated the quality of care provided by all of the foster agencies in Philadelphia. When I decided to become a foster parent myself, I chose to go through the agency that I trusted the most," she said.

"The consistency, integrity, and compassion of Catholic Social Services has made all the difference in my journey through the foster care process."

Last March, the City of Philadelphia announced that it was experiencing a shortage of foster families, in part due to the opioid crisis, and put out a call for 300 new families to help accept children.

A few days later, the city announced that it would no longer refer foster children to agencies that would not place them with same-sex couples.

One of those agencies was Catholic Social Services (CSS), an arm of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that has been working with foster children since its founding in 1917. CSS serves about 120 foster children in about 100 homes at any one time.

City officials cited the group's unwillingness to place foster children with same-sex couples due to its religious beliefs on traditional marriage, even though lawyers for Catholic Social Services argued that no same-sex couple had ever approached the agency asking for certification to accept foster children.

Catholic Social Services filed a lawsuit seeking a renewal of its contract, arguing that the city's decision violated their religious freedom under the constitution.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against CSS on April 22.

"The City's nondiscrimination policy is a neutral, generally applicable law, and the religious views of CSS do not entitle it to an exception from that policy," Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro concluded.

Catholic Social Services has never been the subject of discrimination complaints by same-sex couples. The agency says that it assists all children in need, regardless of a child's race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

"CSS will only certify foster parents who are either married or single; it will not certify cohabitating unmarried couples, and it considers all same-sex couples to be unmarried. So far as the record reflects, no same-sex couples have approached CSS seeking to become foster parents," Judge Ambro wrote.

Despite this, Ambro concluded that the City of Philadelphia "stands on firm ground in requiring its contractors to abide by its non-discrimination policies when administering public services," and that the record demonstrates, in his view, the "City's good faith in its effort to enforce its laws against discrimination" rather than an anti-religious bias.

The U.S. Supreme Court in August 2018 declined to grant an injunction that would require the city to continue its foster-care placement with the agency during litigation over the matter.

Philadelphia is not the only city to refuse to work with a Catholic organization on the issue of foster care and adoption placement. In Buffalo, Catholic Charities recently ceased adoption and foster care work due to rules that would have forced the organization to violate their religious beliefs. Catholic Charities had done work with adoption in Buffalo for nearly a century before the rule change.

In recent years, faith-based child welfare providers in multiple states including in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, have also been forced to shut down their adoption and foster care services because of beliefs that children should be placed with a married mother and father.


Comments


More U.S.

Bishops praise proposal to clarify religious exemptions for federal contractors Watch

Image of

Leaders at the U.S. bishops' conference have praised a U.S. Labor Department proposal to clarify protections for religious employers ... continue reading


Ex-Philly pastor arrested for charges of embezzling roughly $100,000 of church funds Watch

Image of

 A priest in Downingtown, Penn., a suburb west of Philadelphia, was arrested yesterday for stealing roughly $100,000 in church funds ... continue reading



In first-ever event, UN commemorates religious victims of violence Watch

Image of

The United Nations General Assembly has designated Aug. 22 as the first-ever International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of ... continue reading


White House criticized for push to allow indefinite detention of migrant kids Watch

Image of

The White House announced on Wednesday that it would look to terminate court-approved limits on detention of migrant children and families, ... continue reading


Florida bishops: Serial killer's execution is 'unnecessary' Watch

Image of

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is pleading for Gov. Ron DeSantis to stop the execution of Gary Ray Bowles, who confessed to ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.