Fulton v. City of Philadelphia (U.S.C.A. 3rd Circuit, 2018)

Separation of Church & State

3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ,

Separation of Church & State

After the City of Philadelphia learned that certain of its foster care providers, including Catholic Social Services (CSS), would not license same-sex couples to be foster parents, the City ceased referring children to these agencies. CSS subsequently sued the City, arguing that it had a constitutional right to reject qualified same-sex couples as a matter of free exercise of religion. ADL filed an amicus brief in support of the City on behalf of a broad coalition of religious and religiously affiliated organizations. It asserts that freedom of religion, enshrined in the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as numerous federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws, is a shield intended to protect the free exercise of religion for all, not a sword that can be used to impose religious beliefs on or discriminate against others. By seeking a broad, faith-based exemption from anti-discrimination laws that protect religious liberty, among other categories, CSS and others would turn these laws on their head, and in the process, undermine religious freedom for all. The brief was prepared for ADL by Pepper Hamilton LLP and joined by 14 additional religious organizations.