Supreme Court Rules on Discrimination in Taxpayer-Funded Social Services
June 17, 2021
Today, Trevon Mayers, Senior Director of Advocacy & Community Engagement at The Center, released the following statement reacting to the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling that the enforcement of nondiscrimination provisions for taxpayer-funded social services is constitutional, as long as such provisions are applied neutrally.
“While today’s Supreme Court ruling is not a full victory, it is a relief that the ruling does not provide a license to discriminate based on religious beliefs. Most importantly, it underscores the importance of working to ensure that discrimination against LGBTQ people, and all people in marginalized groups, is not permissible anywhere, including the foster care system in the U.S.
The foster care agency in the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case sought a broad license to discriminate against prospective parents while providing taxpayer-funded public services. While the Court did find that Philadelphia officials were not neutral in applying nondiscrimination protections to the agency, it also determined that governments may continue to enforce laws protecting LGBTQ people and others from discrimination as long as they do so even-handedly.
No one should be turned away from fostering young people, or from taking part in any taxpayer-funded program, simply because of who they are. Fortunately, today’s decision does not authorize discrimination in foster care or in other taxpayer-funded government programs such as homeless shelters, disaster relief programs, and health care.
However, we must still address the countless other ways that LGBTQ Americans can still face discrimination. 29 states lack laws to explicitly protect LGBTQ people from being evicted from their home, kicked out of a business that’s open to the public, denied health care, or denied government services. As long as this patchwork of protections continues to exist, the work of LGBTQ advocates and allies is not done. That’s why we’re calling on Congress to pass the Equality Act in order to update our federal civil rights laws to provide protection for all LGBTQ people, women, people of color, immigrants, and people of minority faiths.”
To help protect LGBTQ people and all vulnerable groups from discrimination, please contact your senators and encourage them to support the Equality Act.