Philadelphia urgently needs foster parents to provide stable, loving homes to its growing number of foster children; it contracts with agencies like Catholic Social Services (CSS) to recruit them. But CSS violated the city’s law when it refused to work with LGBTQ parents who wanted to serve as foster parents. When the city asked CSS to stop discriminating, CSS instead filed a lawsuit claiming that its religious beliefs justified discrimination against prospective LGBTQ foster parents.

CSS decided to put its religious beliefs above the best interest of kids who are in its care and people who want to help fill Philadelphia’s pressing need for foster parents. The city did the right thing when it refused to continue contracting with an agency that harms foster children and prospective parents. Taxpayer money should never be used to fund discrimination.

A federal judge has already ruled against CSS and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in the lawsuit in August. Now, CSS has appealed to the Third Circuit to keep arguing that it has a right to discriminate against LGBTQ foster parents.

Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Third Circuit opposing CSS’s discrimination and will continue fighting to ensure that taxpayer funds are not used to discriminate and that laws meant to be a shield protecting religious freedom are not used as a sword to harm others.


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Legal Documents

AU’s friend-of-the-court brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia