Supreme Court Sides With Catholic Foster Agency Who Refused to Certify Same Sex Couples

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday the state of Philadelphia was out of line to limit its relationship with a Catholic foster care agency when the agency refused to certify same-sex couples as foster parents, the Associated Press reported.

The justices ruled unanimously in favor of the Catholic Social Services.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "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."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Justice John Roberts and Donald Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts before the State of the Union address in the House chamber on Feb. 4, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images

Catholic Social Services is affiliated with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The agency has said its Catholic beliefs prevent it from certifying same-sex couples as foster parents.

Philadelphia learned in 2018 from a newspaper reporter the agency would not work with same-sex couples. The city has said it requires that the two dozen-plus foster care agencies it works with not to discriminate as part of their contracts. The city asked the Catholic agency to change its policy, but the group declined. As a result, Philadelphia stopped referring additional children to the agency.

Catholic Social Services sued, but lower courts sided with Philadelphia.

Supreme Court, Election Day
The Supreme Court is seen on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020, in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump says he's planning an aggressive legal strategy to try prevent Pennsylvania from counting mailed ballots that are received in the three days after the election, a matter that could find its way to the high court. J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press