US: Court sides with Philly over same-sex parents in foster care

Philadelphia city government can require that contractor Catholic Social Services does not discriminate against same-sex couples in its foster care program, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the city after it stopped placing children with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s agency because it would not permit same-sex couples to serve as foster parents. The court ruled the city did not target the agency because of its religious beliefs but acted only to enforce its own nondiscrimination policy in the face of what seemed to be a clear violation.

“The city stands on firm ground in requiring its contractors to abide by its non-discrimination policies when administering public services,” wrote Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ambro for the three-judge panel.

Catholic Social Services sought an order requiring Philadelphia to renew its contract as a foster care agency and had argued the city’s actions violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of the right to freely practice one’s religion.

Philadelphia Human Services commissioner Cynthia Figeroa said the decision will help the city best serve children under its care. “We want all individuals who are able to provide safe, loving and welcoming homes to consider fostering,” Figeroa said. Read more via AP