SCOTUS rules Philadelphia’s refusal to place foster children with catholic social services violates first amendment

The United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously this past Thursday against the city of Philadelphia after a long battle with the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s foster care organization over their stance on refusing to accept same-sex married couples as parents for the foster children.

The court took up the case last year after an appeals court ruling upheld the city of Philadelphia’s decision not to place children with the Catholic organization over their stance on same-sex marriage. According to Philadelphia’s local NBC reporting, “The Supreme Court, however, ruled that ‘the refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless it agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents cannot survive strict scrutiny, and violates the First Amendment.’”

The unanimous ruling, however, did not fully appease all of the justices, with Justice Neil Gorsuch showing his disapproval of the decision. He cited a precedent, Employment Division v. Smith, which protects governments’ ability to regulate certain aspects of contracts with third-party vendors. The case, despite the Supreme Court ruling, has been sent back to the Third Court of Appeals.


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Ethan Finn lives just outside of Sacramento in California. He was involved in Boy Scouts for most of his life and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in January of 2019. A passion for politics prompted him and his friend to start an Instagram page all about politics during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic—@conservative.outlet. Ethan finds it fascinating to be a part of the journalistic side of news as opposed to always being just a reader.

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