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SCOTUS unanimously sides with Catholic foster agency that excludes same-sex couples

FILE - This June 8, 2021 file photo shows the Supreme Court building in Washington. A Thursday, June 17, 2021 Supreme Court ruling that favored Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia was far from the constitutional gale wind that would have reshaped how courts interpret religious liberty under the First Amendment. Governmental entities are now on notice that if they want to ban discrimination against LGBTQ persons or anyone else, they had better not allow for any exceptions – or else religious groups will have the right to ask for them, and they'll have a strong case for getting them. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE - This June 8, 2021 file photo shows the Supreme Court building in Washington. A Thursday, June 17, 2021 Supreme Court ruling that favored Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia was far from the constitutional gale wind that would have reshaped how courts interpret religious liberty under the First Amendment. Governmental entities are now on notice that if they want to ban discrimination against LGBTQ persons or anyone else, they had better not allow for any exceptions – or else religious groups will have the right to ask for them, and they'll have a strong case for getting them. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FILE – This June 8, 2021 file photo shows the Supreme Court building in Washington. A Thursday, June 17, 2021 Supreme Court ruling that favored Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:17 AM PT – Friday, June 18, 2021

The Supreme Court unanimously voted to protect a Catholic foster agency’s First Amendment rights. In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the high court ruled in favor of the group Catholic Social Services (CSS), allowing them to continue participating in Philadelphia’s foster care system. The city was attempting to exempt CSS from receiving contracts due to their belief of not fostering to same sex couples.

Lori Windham, a lawyer who argued on behalf for the Catholic foster agency, said Philadelphia violated free speech guarantees while demonstrating hostility toward the group’s religious beliefs. She said the decision made by the highest court in the land is a “common sense ruling in favor of religious social services.”

“We have certainly heard concern leading up to the decision and we heard the arguments in in the courts below, but I think that today’s decision, because it is unanimous, shows that the courts have really shown that there is a right way to do this,” Windham stated. “And that is to leave options open for religious agencies and those who want to partner with them, and so what I’m hopeful we will see is common sense solutions that leave room for everyone to be able to participate in the foster care system.”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote:

“CSS only wishes to continue serving children in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs and the city refusing access to contracts would violate the group’s First Amendment rights.”

For more than a century, CSS has helped provide foster care services throughout the U.S.

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