The Trump administration are trying to make it legal to refuse same-sex couples from adopting.
In a brief submitted to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Department of Justice attorneys argued that adoption agencies should be able to refuse to work with same-sex couples and anyone else they believe to be in violation of their ‘religious beliefs’.
The move comes in support of Catholic Social Services (CSS), a Philadelphia-based adoption agency that insists it should be allowed to turn away same-sex couples under the First Amendment.
In the 35-page brief, US Solicitor General Noel Francisco and other Justice Department attorneys argue that the City of Philadelphia has “impermissibly discriminated against religious exercise” by requiring CSS to abide by LGBTQ+ non-discrimination practices.
The United States government is not a party in the case, according to The Washington Blade, which means the brief was submitted voluntarily. The Justice Department say they have a “substantial interest” to intervene.
“This case concerns the application of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the City of Philadelphia’s termination of a contract allowing Catholic Social Services to help place children in the City with foster parents, on the basis of Catholic Social Services’ unwillingness to endorse same-sex couples as foster parents,” the brief says.
“The United States has a substantial interest in the preservation of the free exercise of religion. It also has a substantial interest in the enforcement of rules prohibiting discrimination by government contractors.”
Leslie Cooper, deputy director with the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement that if the Trump administration gets the outcome they want, it will be more than just adoption that is affected.
“While this case involves rejecting LGBTQ families, if the court accepts the claims made in this case, not only will this hurt children in foster care by reducing the number of families to care for them, but anyone who depends on a wide range of government services will be at risk of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, religion or any other characteristic that fails a provider’s religious litmus test,” Cooper said.