Government-funded adoption agencies can’t bar LGBTQ parents, judge says

A federal judge has ruled that government-funded adoption agencies can’t block LGBTQ parents from adopting kids.

The ruling was in response to a claim made by Christian fostering-and-adoption services.

The pair of groups in question – Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services – are situated in Philadelphia. Both agencies declined to place adoptable children with same-sex couples.

In response, the city government decided to shut down the agencies’ contracts under such time as compliance was reached.

The two groups claimed that their rights were being violated by anti-discrimination laws now on the books in many states.

One of the groups, CSS, decided to push the issue in court. CSS fully admitted to discrimination. They demanded a religious exemption. Futhermore, they declined to do any kind of same-sex adoption studies.

These claims were rejected by District Judge Preset Tucker. The judge found that there was no worthwhile reason to recognize the claims of Catholic Social Services as compelling.

The fact that CSS works under a city contract makes it subject to public accommodation laws, Tucker noted.

Additionally, the judge ruled, the contract itself contains anti-discrimination language. Therefore, according to the court, CSS is in direct violation of its own contract, and the laws of the city.

Tucker wrote the following: “In essence, if CSS provides its services consistent with the minimal requirements of the all-comers provisions of the Fair Practices Ordinance, then CSS may continue to provide foster care to children.”

“This does not constitute a substantial burden on CSS’s religious exercise of providing foster care to children.”

According to LGBTQ Nation, the city itself works with approximately thirty adoption agencies. These organizations are periodically closed, for diverse reasons: “Religious exemptions to allow foster and adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ parents have been a popular cause for conservatives this year. Four states have either considered or passed legislation to allow agencies to discriminate, and House Republicans recently voted in favor of one such measure.”