The United States Supreme Court on Thursday (30 August) refused to take on a case about placing foster children with gay couples.
The dispute is between the city of Philadelphia and Catholic Social Services. Fulton v. City of Philadelphia started whe the city decided to stop placing foster children with the Catholic agency.
The reason? As an agency, they refused to certify same-sex couples as foster parents.
They took the matter to court, arguing Philadelphia was violating their right to free exercise of religion. A district court, however, disagreed.
The Catholic agency then requested to remain in the foster system while the case continued, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circui denied that request.
Their next move was taking the case to the Supreme Court, but without giving a reason, the highest court in the country refused to hear it.
Three conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — said they would have granted the agency’s request.
‘Well-within its rights’
Both sides are defending their own arguments.
Philadelphia said in a statement they can refuse any organization that does not cooperate with the rules.
‘CSS instead seeks its own constitutional right: a constitutional right to apply for a contract paid for by government funds, and then unilaterally rewrite the contract.’
The Catholic agency, however, is arguing the decision harms foster children.
‘The city is closing Catholic’s foster care program over a hypothetical question: if a same-sex couple approached a Catholic agency seeking a written opinion on their family relationships, could the Catholic Church endorse their unions in writing?’ they said. They further argued same-sex couples could go to other agencies.
This case is the latest in the battle between LGBTI rights and religious groups, following the highly publicized Masterpiece Cakeshop case.