30 Civil Rights Groups Urge Supreme Court to Uphold Anti-Discrimination Laws, Support Same-Sex Foster Parents

The Equal Justice Society joined The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and 26 national, state, and local organizations in filing a “friend of the court” brief today urging the Supreme Court to affirm and reiterate that private entities that receive taxpayer-funded government contracts must follow anti-discrimination provisions.

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia addresses the question of whether Catholic Social Services (CSS) will be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking to become foster parents.The groups argue that if the Court accepts the claim that CSS is exempt from adhering to the anti-discrimination provisions of a city’s public contract on First Amendment grounds, such a holding could open the door to any private entity that offers services to the public to sidestep even the most basic of anti-discrimination laws—including those that forbid discrimination based on race.

“Such an outcome would hit hardest LGBT people of color—a population that is already particularly vulnerable to widespread discrimination, yet is more likely to foster the neediest of children.  LGBT people are seven times more likely to be foster parents than non-LGBT couples, and same-sex couples of color are even more likely to be foster parents than white same-sex couples.  Petitioners’ position would also disproportionately harm children of color, as same-sex couples are more likely than different-sex couples to adopt Black children—a group that is already overrepresented in the foster care system,” the groups wrote.

The amicus brief is available here, and the participating organizations are listed below:

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME)
Andrew Goodman Foundation
The Center for Constitutional Rights
Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
Equal Justice Society
Feminist Majority Foundation
FORGE, Inc.
GLSEN
Impact Fund
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human
Rights
League of Women Voters of the United States
Legal Aid at Work
Matthew Shepard Foundation
National Center for Law and Economic Justice
National Crittenton
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Health Law Program
National Homelessness Law Center
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Organization for Women Foundation
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
9to5, National Association of Working Women
Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
Rabbinical Assembly
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
Treatment Action Group