FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EQUALITY TEXAS RESPONDS TO THE SUPREME COURT RULING IN FULTON v PHILADELPHIA AND ITS IMPACT ON THE RIGHTS OF THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY AND NONDISCRIMINATION ORDINANCES
Angela Hale, Equality Texas, 512.289.2995 firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin, Texas – June 17, 2021- Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, today is relieved by the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling regarding Fulton v Philadelphia.
Today’s ruling is a victory for efforts to prevent discrimination in taxpayer-funded services, including child welfare. While the court did find that some of the language in Philadelphia’s contracts was less than neutral in providing exceptions to their nondiscrimination law, cities and states may continue to prevent discrimination in taxpayer-funded services as long as those laws are applied even-handedly.
The agency in this case sought a broad license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people for religious reasons while providing public services with taxpayer money. The court’s ruling denied them that license, affirming that “gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth” and respected the city’s interest in providing nondiscrimination protections for same-sex couples as “a weighty one.”
“Today’s Supreme Court decision does not change the current constitutional framework which allows governments to enforce non-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. The court’s decision was fact-specific and does not overturn long-established precedent on the Free Exercise Clause, ensuring that existing legal protections against discrimination remain intact.
“It’s also important to note the court upheld the dignity and humanity of LGBTQ+ people by affirming that we cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. After a traumatic Texas legislative session where we had to defend our inherent value as human beings, that statement is of the utmost importance. It’s more important now than ever for Congress to affirm that inherent dignity in law and listen to the overwhelming majority of voters, including 70% of Texans, who support LGBTQ+ inclusive federal nondiscrimination protections and pass the Equality Act.” said Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas.
While it’s important that the Court recognized the need for nondiscrimination protections, we are disappointed that Catholic Social Services will, for now, be able to deny children access to loving homes with qualified same-sex parents. Since 2017, Texas has allowed state-funded child welfare service providers to refuse services based on their personal “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Discrimination has no place in foster care. When child welfare agencies allow religious beliefs rather than the child’s best interest to govern their placement decisions, the harm falls on children. As of May 2021, there are over 15000 kids in foster care in Texas according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration. The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.