Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry has joined other religious leaders in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the City of Philadelphia’s nondiscrimination policies regarding foster care by same-sex couples.

Update: The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, signed a separate document with similar intent. 

In Fulton v. Philadelphia, Catholic Social Services (CSS), a foster-care agency, has refused to place children with same-sex couples, maintaining that being forced to do so would infringe on the agency’s right to free expression of religion. In 2019, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against CSS, which appealed to the Supreme Court.

Curry has signed on to an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief filed by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. The 38-page brief was also joined by the United Church of Christ and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The brief supports the participation of faith-based groups in governmental programs addressing child welfare, but says “no organization — religious or secular — is entitled to veto the government’s choices on
how a public program is to be run.”

In announcing the brief, the Church noted that support for LGBTQ rights is consistent with more than a dozen resolutions passed by General Conventions going back to 1976.

The Trump Administration has weighed in on the other side, submitting its own amicus brief in June, supporting CSS. Oral arguments are set for November.

— Kirk Petersen