"Though we are relieved this decision does not go further and create a sweeping new religious exemption, this decision leaves thousands of foster children unable to join a loving family who is eager to welcome and support them."
Dear Center Community,
Last August, The Center joined Lambda Legal's Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, along with 26 other LGBTQ youth-serving partners across the nation, to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the rights of LGBTQ parents to foster children. Last week, in a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Catholic Social Services, but on the narrowest possible ground, based on language in the City of Philadelphia's contract that authorized individualized exemptions for any provider. The court did not establish a general right for religious organizations to violate non-discrimination laws.
Though we are relieved this decision does not go further and create a sweeping new religious exemption, this decision leaves thousands of foster children unable to join a loving family who is eager to welcome and support them. It is also a message to the LGBTQ community that we do not deserve to be parents and form loving families – that we do not deserve the same rights as all other Americans.
We believe that every child deserves a safe and loving home, especially foster children who have already experienced hardships (and some, neglect and abuse) who are in desperate need of a loving family. At The Center, we have clients who are LGBTQ youth placed in foster homes, only to be rejected by the family when they learn the youth is LGBTQ. It is simply heartbreaking to imagine a youth having to leave their foster placement, sometimes in the middle of the night, because of who they are, and who they love. LGBTQ families know the struggles and pain of being an LGBTQ youth, and are uniquely qualified to be the parents these youth so desperately need.
When same-sex couples are six times more likely to foster children, and at least four times more likely to adopt, we must open those doors wider for more loving homes for all youth without them. The Center is committed to serving and advocating for the full diversity of our LGBTQ community until all people – including transgender and nonbinary people, immigrants, our BIPOC community, and all of our families, who have fought for decades to exist and be protected like other loving families, have equal rights and equal justice.”
Again, although The Center is relieved that the decision doesn’t issue a broad license to discriminate, discrimination continues. The rights of the LGBTQ community are continuously up for debate in the public arena, local governments, and the U.S. Supreme Court, and we know that LGBTQ Americans still face discrimination across our country every day. Because of today’s decision and the struggles we face every day, we call on Congress to pass the Equality Act so that no one faces discrimination for being who they are. And, The Center will also continue our advocacy work for and on behalf of our LGBTQ community.