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On behalf of the firm’s longtime pro bono partner Family Equality, a BCLP cross-office team has filed an amicus brief supporting the city of Philadelphia in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case that will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2020-2021 term.

This case asks whether taxpayer-funded foster care agencies can refuse to license same-sex couples as foster parents even if such discrimination violates state or local policies. Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia sued for an order requiring the city to allow the agency to continue providing foster care services even though the agency’s policy of refusing to license same-sex couples violates Philadelphia’s non-discrimination policy. Both the district court and Third Circuit ruled against the agency, and the case is now before the Supreme Court.

Through the voices of LGBTQ adults who have sought to foster or adopt children from the child welfare system, the brief argues that discriminating against same-sex couples harms children by delaying and preventing placements for kids who desperately need homes and deterring same-sex couples from serving as foster parents. The brief argues that the needs of children in the government’s care outweighs a purported constitutional right to discriminate founded in religious liberty.

The BCLP team on this brief included San Francisco Counsel Katherine Keating, New York Senior Counsel Bill Hibsher, New York Associate Elizabeth Goldberg, New York Associate Michael Neville and New York Associate Laith Hamdan.

Read more about this matter here.

This document provides a general summary and is for information/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought before taking or refraining from taking any action.