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LWVUS Board President Responds to the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ruling

WASHINGTON – The League of Women Voters of the United States board president Dr. Deborah Ann Turner issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The narrow decision declares that Philadelphia’s refusal to contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) for foster care services is unconstitutional because their system of individualized exemptions was inconsistently applied across the state's foster care agencies. 

This decision will impact the many same-sex families in Philadelphia who can offer loving homes to foster children, but it will not be a blanket restriction across the country:  

“While today’s decision is deeply disappointing for the LGBTQIA+ community, it is significant that the Court did not create a broad license to discriminate against same-sex couples' ability to adopt.  

“In essence, the ruling could open the door for some faith-based organizations to implement prejudicial rules. The greatest victims of this decision are the children in foster care who will be denied loving and inclusive families. 

“It is dangerous to equate freedom of religion with the right to act prejudicially. Freedom of religion is an essential part of our Constitution – but the separation of church and state does not grant the right to discriminate against or impose individual beliefs on other people. 

“It is time for Congress to pass the Equality Act to enshrine the anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the Civil Rights Act.” 

The League of Women Voters of the United States joined an amicus brief in this case. 

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CONTACT: Lilly McGee | 202-263-1329 | [email protected]