August 24, 2020

Van Hollen, Gillibrand, Senators Submit Amicus Brief on Ending Discrimination in Foster Care and Adoption

Amicus Brief Was Submitted by 172 Members of Congress

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) submitted an amicus brief 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.

The 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. 

Senators Van Hollen and Gillibrand were joined by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The effort was led in the House by Representative Angie Craig, Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and the first lesbian mom to serve in Congress.