The city of Philadelphia ended a contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) because the organization won’t endorse or certify homosexual “marriage.” CSS requires foster parents to be married, or if single, a birth parent must approve. CSS sued the city, lost at trial and on appeal, and appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will decide the case later this year.
The Trump Administration, which was supportive of faith-based organizations, issued a rule to protect faith-based adoption and foster care agencies that receive federal funding. But new presidents can change the rules, which is why the legislature must act. U.S. Senators Tim Scott and James Lankford introduced a bill called the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act to protect faith-based organizations like CSS from government discrimination.
“Faith-based child welfare organizations are an integral part of the larger system that helps kids find a safe and permanent home,” Sen. Lankford said. “Organizations that serve our foster kids should not be compelled to set aside their deeply held religious beliefs to serve children and families alongside government.”
Sen. Scott said that in his state of South Carolina and across the country, these providers support “the 400,000 children in our foster care system who—through no fault of their own—have nowhere else to go. At a time when religious freedoms are under assault, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act is a necessary protection for those who are living according to their convictions. I am grateful my colleagues are standing with me to protect this most fundamental right.”
Even if the high court rules in favor of CSS, a law would provide the ultimate protection and remedy for all faith-based organizations that receive federal funding. Becket Law, which represents CSS and foster mothers Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch, said the majority of the justices “appeared inclined to protect the religious foster parents and Catholic Social Services” when the court heard arguments last year. From BCN’s post in November:
Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted that no homosexual couples seeking to adopt or foster children have ever come to CSS. Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer noted the same thing. He said it is “bothering me a lot… that no family has ever been turned down by this agency—indeed has never applied,” and the city still tried to shut them down. Justice Elana Kagan questioned the city’s neutrality on religion. Based on these statements, at least two liberal justices could vote in favor of CSS and the foster care mothers.
Justice Samuel Alito got to the heart of the matter.
“If we are honest about what’s really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents. It’s the fact the City can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage.”
The high court’s decision isn’t expected until June 2021.
The homosexual lobby has targeted other faith-based adoption and foster care agencies (and Christian-owned businesses) for opposing homosexual “marriage.” The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, and faith-based organizations have a right to conduct business according to their faith.
Photo credit: Becket Fund