Philadelphia Family Pride is proud to be an intervenor in the case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia which was argued in front of the United States Supreme Court on November 4, 2020. The ruling was issued on June 17th.
- Read the ACLU's press release explaining the decision here.
- PFP's statement re: the decision.
- Read the SCOTUS decision here. (PDF)
We’re inviting you to join us on #DecisionDay TONIGHT, June 17th, for both our Virtual Rally followed by our Virtual Town Hall. The rally will be a chance for us to gather together as a community to react to the decision, support each other and hear from speakers and performances. Then the Town Hall will feature experts providing analysis of the opinion, how it will affect our lives, and what still needs to be done. RSVP to those events here.
The case, briefly, deals with whether Catholic Social Services (CSS) is obligated to comply with the City of Philadelphia's Fair Practices Ordinance (FPO) in its provision of foster care services - particularly, the provision in the FPO that requires government contractors to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The initial issue arose because CSS is a government contractor for purposes of licensing foster families and the placement of children in foster care. The City became aware, via a newspaper article, that CSS would refuse to license same-sex couples, because they claimed such licensure would violate their religious beliefs. When this practice came to light, the City indicated that it expected CSS to comply with the FPO and license same-sex couples. When CSS refused, the City terminated their contract and froze the placement of children through the agency. CSS then sued the City, alleging religious discrimination.
CSS claims that they are being singled out by the FPO and that the City has shown religious hostility to them. The City has argued that its Fair Practices Ordinance is neutral and applies to every organization or individual that wants to contract with the City for the provision of any government service. Both the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed with the City's argument.
PFP is jointly represented by the ACLU and the ACLU of Pennsylvania with our friends, Support Center for Child Advocates. PFP and the Support Center intervened in the case to represent the interests of foster-care youth and same-sex couples that are or hope to be foster parents. We intervened when the case initially was filed in the District Court. Our organization and our lawyers have been part of the case from almost the very beginning, including in front of the District Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and now before the Supreme Court. We are optimistic that our position will prevail and that our families will be able to work with every agency in the City of Philadelphia providing foster-care services.
PFP's brief in the Supreme Court is available here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/fulton-v-city-philadelphia-brief-intervenor-respondents-philadelphia-family-pride
The City's brief in the Supreme Court is available here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/fulton-v-city-philadelphia-brief-respondent-city-philadelphia
For additional briefing, including the support of amicus briefs from across the civil rights and foster care spectrum, as well as the briefing from the District Court and Third Circuit, please check the ACLU's webpage for the case, here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/fulton-v-city-philadelphia
For more on the case and its implications, visit Family Equality's Fulton v. City of Philadelphia page.
Read the opinion-editorial in the Washington Post. October 9, 2020 by James Esseks, Director of ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project
Listen to the recording of the oral arguments in front of the US Supreme Court, Nov. 4, 2020
Read the transcript of the oral arguments in front of the US Supreme Court, Nov. 4. 2020
Watch OurDayInCourt.org's town hall from the evening of Nov. 4, 2020 discussing the Fulton case and its implications.
We join our colleagues at the Support Center for Child Care Advocates in thanking the teams from the ACLU, Dechert, O’Melveny &Myers, and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic for their pro bono representation and hard work on this case.