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Amicus Brief Requiring Religious Social Services Providers to Comply with Nondiscrimination Law

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Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association joined a coalition of religious organizations and individuals filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, opposing the claim of some religious social services providers to be exempt from nondiscrimination law. In this case, upon being informed that Catholic Social Services would not license same-sex couples to be foster parents, the City of Philadelphia (in compliance with its nondiscrimination laws) declined to renew the agency’s contract with the city and ceased referring clients to them. 

While the plaintiffs claim that free exercise of religion confers the right to discriminate against same-sex couples in taxpayer-funded foster care, our long-standing position is that religious beliefs do not exempt organizations from neutral, generally applicable antidiscrimination obligations governing the provision of government services. 

Further, we reject the notion that “religion” or “people of faith” by definition oppose LGBTQ equality. To the contrary, we welcome and celebrate LGBTQ individuals and families, valuing them as unique embodiments of the divine image (tzelem elohim) that unites us all, and worthy of dignity and support.

The full text of the amicus brief is attached above. 

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