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The National Black Justice Coalition on Supreme Court Decision for Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro | 

Supreme Court Rules Civil & Human Rights Laws Must Be Enforced Uniformly and Consistently 

WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a Catholic organization in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, arguing the organization’s religious rights were violated when it was excluded from a foster-care program for refusing to certify same-sex couples. 

In response, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading national civil rights organization, issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling, while only applicable to the city of Philadelphia, is a troubling sign of anti-LGBTQ+ legal battles ahead. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the city of Philadelphia can permit Catholic Social Services and other child welfare agencies in the city to discriminate against same-sex couples and other people seeking to provide foster care based on the agency’s religious beliefs and citywide contract exemptions. Although this is not the outcome we hoped for, we won’t back down now. 

“A ruling like this highlights the critical need for a federal statute that protects LGBTQ+/SGL people from discrimination based on an organization’s personal beliefs. Civil rights laws are supposed to protect everyone. In modern-day they provide less protection for LGBTQ+/SGL people. Because the Supreme Court did not make a unilateral decision balancing civil rights for all, we know additional legal battles on this matter are imminent. This case, and the widespread discrimination that continues in the child welfare system and beyond, reinforces the need to pass bills like the Equality Act and John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act.

“All nine Supreme Court justices voted to permit legal discrimination in the city of Philadelphia. This will only harm children in the foster care system, who are all worthy of loving and supportive homes. Children deserve more than such ignorance, bias, and hate. 

“Despite today’s loss, we are grateful that the Court’s ruling does not allow all governments to turn a blind eye to taxpayer-funded agencies who discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. Going forward, we will continue to speak out and demand laws that protect all LGBTQ+ from discrimination without prejudice by advocating for legislation like the Equality Act. We will make our expectations clear to government service providers, businesses, employers, health care providers, and landlords. This fight is far from over.”

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.