Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling against the city of Philadelphia for preventing a Catholic social services agency from participating in a foster care program due to the organization’s refusal to consider same-sex couples. Notably, however, the court’s decision was fact-specific and did not overturn long-established precedent on the Free Exercise Clause, ensuring that existing legal protections against discrimination remain intact.
In response, Sharita Gruberg, vice president of the LGBTQ Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
We are disappointed that the Supreme Court ruled against the city of Philadelphia and do not believe the facts of this case pointed toward religious discrimination. It’s important, however, to recognize that the Supreme Court could have gone further in its ruling and did not. The justices did not recognize a broad license to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on the religious beliefs of those that receive taxpayer funding. Governments may continue to enforce laws protecting LGBTQ people and others from discrimination and are not being forced to allow religious organizations to discriminate.
While this decision is limited to the specific facts of Philadelphia’s contracting process, anti-LGBTQ discrimination in our country remains a widespread issue. More than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans, including more than 3 in 5 transgender Americans, faced discrimination of some kind in the past year. All Americans who care about a country free from discrimination must now shift their attention back to Congress. The U.S. Senate needs to pass the Equality Act, which already passed in the U.S. House with bipartisan support, to update our civil rights laws and ensure that no one is denied critical federally funded services that they and their families need simply because of their sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity.
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