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Press Release

NEA responds to Supreme Court ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

Supreme Court limits enforcement of civil rights in Philadelphia Social Services
Published: 06/17/2021

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today issued an opinion in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case that addressed whether Philadelphia’s protections for LGBTQ families could apply to religious foster care providers who object to providing adoption services to same-sex couples. The National Education Association signed onto an amicus brief that argued private agencies receiving taxpayer-funding to provide government services cannot deny services to people who are LGBTQ, single women, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon or otherwise.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:

“Every child matters, and every child has the right to be safe, welcomed and valued. In a strained-but-narrow decision, the Supreme Court contorted Philadelphia’s LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections to hold that the First Amendment prevents Philadelphia from enforcing them against religious entities that certify foster care families for the city. The court stretched both the terms of the city’s own contract with the religious entities, as well as the terms of the city’s anti-discrimination protections, to reach that result. As in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Supreme Court has strained the facts and its own doctrine to countenance discrimination against LGBTQ families. This has become a disturbing pattern for this court and portends a troubling future on the Supreme Court’s respect for LGBTQ equality in particular and civil rights protections more generally.  

“But — even after today’s narrow decision — public entities both can and should enforce nondiscrimination provisions against private contractors. They just must be sure that they apply uniformly to religious and non-religious entities alike and that there are no exceptions to them. Public entities are likewise still prohibited from discriminating in the services they carry out. The 3 million members of the National Education Association will continue to fight for nondiscrimination protections in all aspect of public services, especially services affecting our students and their families.” 

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.