Faith, foster care and LGBTQ rights collide in Supreme Court

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports on a major religious liberty case coming before the Supreme Court next week, over Catholic Social Services not working with same-sex foster parents in Philadelphia.
10:32 | 10/30/20

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Transcript for Faith, foster care and LGBTQ rights collide in Supreme Court
Families the case involves Foster care in the city of Philadelphia and whether Catholic social services agency can be denied a contract for child placement because of its refusal to work with same sex couples. Our Devin Dwyer went to Philadelphia for a closer look at this dispute and the children caught in the middle. For nearly thirty years Sharon L Fulton has opened her Philadelphia home to dozens of the city's most vulnerable children I have room in my house. And time in my life. And I want to make a difference. The Catholic mother of three has been a Foster mother to more than forty and her kids coming from families often broken by drugs and abuse you may come up pie. He kissed them it's elements going to be our right. NFL active. In 2018 folk tunes work as a Foster parent for Catholic social services was abruptly put on hold. After the city froze its contract with the agency over its refusal to work the same sex couples I was devastated. I just couldn't believe his Catholic social service does wonderful work. And we have children that hurt. And we need this or Philadelphia in a push to recruit more Foster families made clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was forbidden under city contracts. Deputy mayor Cynthia fig wearer herself a Catholic told Catholic social services he could no longer refuse gay and lesbian parents. Continue receiving tax peer funds. This is a voluntary contract we don't hold any provider. To commit to having a sign if they don't want to adhere to the contract privilege should. To the city it's pretty straightforward he ventured into a contract that says very explicitly that you are to serve all in any. I'm and that's not that's when you know mutually applied to all providers. The agency in Catholic Foster parent Sharon L Fulton sued his city alleging they were targeted for their religious beliefs in violation of the First Amendment. Lower federal courts rejected those claims but now the US Supreme Court will decide where did the city went too far. There have been no complaints against Catholic social services and no. Safe sex couple never hurts them but if one did they would help them to find an agency insert that family and help them on their Foster care journey and of the. 44 private agencies and Philadelphia's Foster care network Catholic social services is the only one. It says would deny applications from same sex couples as a matter of faith. Even because there's other organizations does that mean that one should be allowed to discriminate against a particular community wide freeze them out at a time when you have so much yeah. There's LG BTQ you'd in the system. And I think it sends a very strong message to them that their support in a protected as children benefit adults are right would be discriminated against. Caught in the middle are at risk Philadelphia children and teens there are currently 4300. Kids in the city's resource Holmes including nearly 19100 with Foster families. About 300 children are in group facilities awaiting placement we have kids do. Dying in the street every single day brothel and you want to fight about who can. Foster child I got let's get past retired cop Kevin Bernard and his wife Patti recently became Foster parents for the first time. Taking in a five month old baby girl from a family with close ties to their church. Don't really know what the outcomes going to be we don't know she's going to be of those for two years. For a year and a half where ever we don't we don't know what's going to happen and what's it take to be a good Foster care. I would say you know have blown open known. Patients. There's such a need for people that have a heart to help the children. Should be involved in the system. Was that it. We're paging Shani Davis have been sharing their love with Philadelphia Foster kids for seven years. Taking in ten children and teens or raising a son of their own little public policy. Eric hitter that comes our hot market there are. The davis' say having same sex parents in the Foster system is critical studies show algae BT young people are disproportionately. In need of Foster care. And that many who were removed or ran away from Foster placements did so because of the caregivers hostility toward their sexual orientation or gender identity we could've. Then that answer mediate between a towel transitioning. Into their adulthood into their own identity. And sell them that is saying we want to be there for those children in order to. I'm not a lawyer. I say this. Catholic services based on the contract the contract specifically state what you gonna include all type thing. But after nearly 200 years of Catholic social service is working with children and families in Philly. Some wonder whether the move to cut ties of the police and homosexuality. Is fair and constitutional as freedom. His both sides when there's two sides of freedom right. And this country was founded on religious freedom and has sites you should deal would help where you can help. And still practice your faith and so did church wants to help but they can't do it in another area dinner should be somebody that can help those people. Also do that. I grew up Catholic went through attrition we still go to church on Sundays take us time where a member of part of our Catholic community here in Philadelphia. However. Everyone isn't. However this is about the children this is not about what we do behind closed doors so for youths had. Or eliminate families facing a mean things sex is eliminating a potential loving home for child. Yes with your case before the Supreme Court Sharon L Fulton awaits a decision that are now quiet north Philly home. The trees her Foster children planted steel blue mean as a source of hope. If Catholics are so services loses the case and the city's rules are upheld would you. Continue fostering with a veteran with another agent no I would not because. At this age and in my life I don't wanna start all over the game was somebody else's rules and regulations who don't respect my religious values. And I believe that the what I'm thing so no it would be difficult for free ABC news live I'm Devin Dwyer in Philadelphia. It is indeed all about the children our thanks to DeVon prevented turning out to the battle for the senate Amy Grant is trying to do what six democratic candidates have not been able to do for the last 36 years defeat Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. She joins us now thanks so much for your time especially during these busy last few days of the campaign. What we're working very hard idol are excited they can imagine so in 2016. President trump won Kentucky by thirty points. 538 gives a president a nine. 100 chance of winning this state again. How many charms supporters you need to win over in order to have a shot at beating Mitch McConnell. We know what my message has always been. Let's elect. Somebody who's gonna put this country about their political party and I am I will work with any president. To do what's right for Kentucky's. So you know there are a lot of people no matter who they're gonna vote for president recognized fit Mitch McConnell the senator McConnell has been there too long. That he is part of it dysfunctional system. That is so partisan and so polarized and so dysfunctional that it can't even get anything done. For Kentucky in the middle of a national security crisis that we have right now with the but nineteen. And so that message is resonating that. You know it comes down to look you wanna during the slop you can't trans mop until you get rid of the guy that built. And that's mr. pop. But part of being there too long and he has been able to amass a lot of power right so what would you say don't Kentucky resident. Who enjoys having the most powerful Republican in congress representing them should voters give up having to top party leader from their state for a new senator will have. Less influence. Well you know what my Philippine techies don't come up to me and say well senator McConnell power is really working for us. You know what people care about here right now. Folks can't afford their prescription medication. They can't pay the rent. We know we're trying to get kids back in school and and they'll likely William Broad band so their kids have to go to McDonald's. To do their homework. You know we have a health care problem here in this country we have 300000 techies are still don't have health care the senator McConnell wants to take pick out here from people. So it's its bread and other it. And butter issues of what I say to folks is it's not about the parents how do you. Tell you use that power cinema com uses his power for himself and special interests the wealthiest 1% does not use it for Kentucky. And in fact. We get rid of him we can get lower prescription drug prices we can have your health care we can invest in knots because he's holding all of that operating. And Mitch McConnell has said that he considers a confirmation of justice Amy Connie Barrett a major accomplishment it cannot be on done. If you do get to this and it will you back efforts from progressive Democrats to get rid of the filibuster or expand the Supreme Court. Well tell you I'm not it just didn't impact in courts right now I mean just didn't unpack in the senate. Because the reason we are in the position that we are in right now. It's because of senator Mitch McConnell he has polarized and destroy this process from the very beginning. So the first step to getting our democracy back is getting rid of him. And I will I will say that we have to fix this the new generation of leaders is going to happen to look at our democracy and fix it. Because senator McConnell has destroyed it. It was once the greatest deliberative body on the on the plant. And now we can't even get us to eighty that we deep need in the middle and national security crisis. And the Supreme Court nominee that he just rammed through its all out here. He couldn't take away the political care act legislatively for decades are now is trying to do it in the courts. And you know people are tired so that's why they're gonna vote for change here and just. Few days. OK we thank you so much for your time really appreciate you coming on the show aiming the perhaps. Her. Guitar but you also when when we come back at some doing to get closer to nature some do it to be dare devils meet the group swimming. In a most unusual of places. The.

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