The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a religious freedom case on whether the city of Philadelphia acted unlawfully when it stopped placing foster children with a Catholic foster agency because it does not certify same-sex foster parents.
The nation’s high court heard arguments on behalf of two Philadelphia area foster mothers who are seeking to reverse the decision by the city government, which no longer places foster children in the homes of parents who partner with Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The city objects to the fact that the organization does not provide foster certification to lesbian or gay couples as the Catholic Church has long taught that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
The case is known as Sharonell Fulton et. al. v. City of Philadelphia.
The issue began back in 2018 when the city government moved to no longer place children through foster care groups that do not place children in the homes of same-sex couples, namely Bethany Christian Services of Greater Delaware Valley and the CSS of Philadelphia.
While BCS of Greater Delaware Valley altered its policy to allow staff to work with same-sex couples interested in fostering children to resume the partnership with the city, CSS took legal action.
CSS foster parents Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch, who have fostered over 45 children through CSS, filed a lawsuit with the help of the religious freedom legal nonprofit Becket. Becket represented the Little Sisters of the Poor in its Supreme Court battle against the Obamacare contraception mandate.
Despite earlier rulings against the mothers and CSS, the Supreme Court announced in February that it would hear the case.
“My faith has led me to become a foster mother to children that society had abused and discarded,” Fulton said in a statement. “As a single woman of color, I’ve learned a thing or two about discrimination over the years — but I’ve never experienced the vindictive religious discrimination the City’s politicians have expressed toward my faith.”
Simms-Busch, who partnered with CSS because she wanted to work with a faith-affirming agency, said in a statement that the justices “took our arguments seriously.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith