In Unanimous Ruling, Supreme Court Upholds Religious Freedom of Faith-Based Child Placement Agencies

Washington, DC – Today, the United States Supreme Court held in a unanimous decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that the city discriminated against a religious foster-care organization by disqualifying it from serving families and children because of its religious beliefs.

Jonathan Saenz, Attorney and President for Texas Values released the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Fulton sends a clear message that the Free Exercise Clause cannot be ignored. Every child in need of a forever home deserves the chance to be adopted, and religious organizations should not be punished because they stay committed to their sincerely held religious beliefs. This is an incredible victory for religious freedom and a big step in keeping kids first.” 

The Court held that the City of Philadelphia violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment when it refused to contract with Catholic Social Services unless they agreed to change their policies to certify same-sex couples as foster parents. Several justices wrote concurring opinions in Fulton, including Justice Alito, who wrote a remarkable 77-page concurrence recounting the history of religious freedom laws and arguing for greater protections under the Free Exercise Clause.

In 2017, Texas Values supported legislation passed by the Texas Legislature to protect children against government discrimination such as the kind that took place in Fulton. The Freedom to Serve Children Act, authored by Rep. James Frank and Sen. Charles Perry, prohibits the government from denying an application, declining a contract, declining to issue a license, or terminating a child welfare provider for their sincerely held religious beliefs.

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