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National Faith Leaders Respond to Fulton v Philadelphia


June 17, 2021


Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, (540) 280-3393

National Faith Leaders Respond to Fulton v Philadelphia 

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a narrow ruling in the case of Fulton vs City of Philadelphia, against the city for preventing a Catholic social services agency from participating in a foster care program due to the organization’s discrimination against same-sex couples. However, the court’s decision did not create a broad license to discriminate on the basis of religious freedom.

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life: 

“While I’m disappointed that the court ruled against the City of Philadelphia’s nondiscrimination policy today, I’m grateful that it did not create a broad new license to discriminate or create a special right for taxpayer-funded foster care agencies to discriminate,” said Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life. “The decision still allows governments to have and enforce nondiscrimination laws, and it does not allow other taxpayer-funded agencies to discriminate.”

“Today’s ruling is also an important reminder of the countless ways that LGBTQ Americans, people of color, women, people of minority faiths and others still face discrimination across our country. Twenty-nine states still don’t have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ people from being evicted from their home, kicked out of a business that’s open to the public, denied health care, or denied government services. And federal law still does not protect people of color, women, immigrants and people of minority faiths from being denied service and otherwise discriminated against in retail stores, shopping malls and similar places. It’s time for our nation’s laws to catch up to our nation’s values. That’s why Congress must pass the Equality Act. No one should live in fear of discrimination simply because of who they are.”

John Gehring, Catholic Program Director of Faith in Public Life:

“It’s wrong that LGBTQ families in Philadelphia remain vulnerable to discrimination by a taxpayer-funded, church-affiliated agency, but it’s important that other nondiscrimination policies across the country remain standing,” said John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life. “Church-affiliated agencies must not treat LGBTQ parents with unequal dignity. I’m inspired by so many LGBTQ Catholics who are incredible parents, partners and advocates. We will continue to advocate for full equality and affirm the dignity and holiness of LGBTQ families.”


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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