Shaheen Submits Amicus Brief on Ending Discrimination in Foster Care and Adoption

August 24, 2020

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) submitted an amicus brief with 23 Senators in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, an impending Supreme Court case focused on anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the foster care and adoption system. In March 2018, the City of Philadelphia learned that two of the agencies it partners with to provide foster care services to children in the public child welfare system would not allow same-sex couples to be foster parents, based on the agencies’ religious beliefs. The city subsequently stopped referring children to the agencies and informed them that city contracts prohibit such discrimination. One agency, Catholic Social Services, sued the city with claims that the right to free exercise of religion entitles it to a taxpayer-funded contract to perform a government service, even though it is unwilling to comply with the city’s requirement that contract agencies accept all qualified families. Shaheen and her fellow lawmakers are calling for an end to anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the adoption and foster care systems because it denies countless vulnerable children the opportunity to find a safe and loving home. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) led the amicus brief.

“The blatant and shameful act of discrimination against LGBTQ families in this case is compounded by the fact that it prevents vulnerable children from finding loving and welcoming homes,” said Shaheen. “By submitting this amicus brief in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, I stand with parents in our LGBTQ community, who continue to face discrimination in the foster care and adoption system. It’s time to put an end to these discriminatory policies once and for all, ensure LGBTQ parents have the same rights as their other parents and put the interests of children and families first.”

Senator Shaheen is a cosponsor of the Every Child Deserves a Family (ECDF) Act to end discrimination against prospective adoptive and foster parents based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or religion. This legislation would also prohibit this kind of discrimination against children and youth in the child welfare system and would ensure that they are not subject to harmful practices, such as conversion therapy.