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Supreme Court Unanimously Backs Catholic Group

Ruling says foster care organization has the right not to work with same-sex couples
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2021 11:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case involving same-sex couples Thursday, but the votes didn't fall into a liberal-conservative split. This was one 9-0. The court ruled in favor of a Catholic foster care agency in Philadelphia that will not in principle work with LGBTQ couples, reports the Inquirer. The city cut ties with Catholic Social Services when the agency's policy came to light a few years ago, and the justices called that decision out of line. “CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion. It "does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else."

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Philadelphia officials have not responded yet to the ruling, but it appears the city will once again have to contract with the agency. The ruling continues the court's "trend in recent years of giving a largely sympathetic audience to groups seeking exemptions from the law on religious grounds," writes John Kruzel at the Hill. CSS says it never turned away a same-sex couple—it just was never approached by one, notes the Washington Post. Its rules similarly prohibit it from working with unmarried couples as well. "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," declared Roberts. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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