Philadelphia, Pa., May 17, 2018 / 13:39 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A group of foster parents and social workers appeared in court on Wednesday, asking that the city of Philadelphia rescind its decision to ban a Catholic organization from placing children in foster homes.
The plaintiffs of Sharonell Fulton et al. v. City of Philadelphia told a US District Court May 16 that they are being discriminated against because of their agency's deeply-held religious beliefs.
For over a century, Philadelphia has worked with Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CSS) to facilitate the placement of children in foster care. Catholic Social Services has assisted with home visits, training of foster parents, and placements. At any given time CSS serves about 120 foster children in 100 foster homes. In 2017, the charity says it helped more than 2,200 children in the Philadelphia area.
In March, CSS was informed that the city would no longer be referring foster children to the agency for assistance. Philadelphia then passed a resolution calling for an investigation into religiously-based foster care services, after a same-sex couple claimed they were discriminated against by a different faith-based agency.
CSS has not been the subject of discrimination complaints by same-sex couples. The agency says that it assists all children in need, regardless of a child’s race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.