Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
A coalition of Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ groups have joined a U.S. Supreme Court fight between the city of Philadelphia and a Catholic foster care agency that won’t allow same-sex couples to serve as foster parents, arguing that the ban is discriminatory and harms children.
The four groups — the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center; The Mazzoni Center, The Pennsylvania Youth Congress, and the William Way LGBT Community Center, joined a friend-of-the-court brief signed by a total of 26 local, state, and national organizations that serve LGBTQ youth, according to a statement the groups released Thursday.
The nation’s highest court is expected to hear oral arguments this fall in Philadelphia’s ongoing legal dispute with Catholic Social Services over whether the agency’s religious freedom protections were violated when Philadelphia officials canceled its contract because the Catholic charity refuses to place foster children with same-sex couples, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in February.
Philadelphia has a nondiscrimination clause in its contract, and has twice prevailed in lower courts, the Inquirer reported. According to the Inquirer, the Catholic charity also does not place children with unmarried couples because of its religious beliefs.
For the Pennsylvania activists, the question before the court is clear cut: It’s wrong for an agency to receive public funding from the city so that it can discriminate against city residents.
“Every LGBTQ adult, coupled or not, carries scars from childhood bias. Philadelphia’s rule protects LGBTQ children and adults against discriminatory bias and against more trauma,” Thomas Ude Jr., the legal and public policy director at the Mazzoni Center, said. “If an agency wants to serve Philadelphia’s children, it should agree to respect the full dignity of those children. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
An attorney for Catholic Social Services told the Inquirer in February that the high court’s eventual decision in the case will address the nationwide debate around faith-based adoption and foster care.
“I want to emphasize, same-sex couples are able to foster and adopt in Philadelphia,” the charity’s attorney, Lori Windham, told the newspaper. “That has been true for years. It continues to be true today. Catholic Social Services is just one of 29 agencies, and asks to be able to continue providing excellent services and following its faith.”
On Thursday, Chris Bartlett, the executive director of Philadelphia’s William Way LGBT Community Center, said the Catholic agency’s policy furthers the “harmful impact of discrimination against LGBT foster parents and the children they foster,” which results in “fewer qualified foster parents to serve the great demand.
The community center is the training site for “LGBT and ally foster parents in the region — precisely to meet the demand for foster parents who bring sensitivity to serve the many LGBT youth seeking a family home placement,” Bartlett continued. “A religious exemption should not be a tool to discriminate against these LGBT foster parents or the children they protect.”
Hours before Joe Biden was to deliver his DNC acceptance speech, President Donald Trump trolled the ex-Veep on his home turf. Our NEPA Correspondent Patrick Abdalla has the story.
As former Veep Joe Biden accepted the Democrats’ presidential nomination on Thursday, his SWPA fans rallied — safely, and at a distance — for the cause, Pittsburgh Correspondent Tom Lisi reports.
Athletes and their parents rallied at the Capitol on Thursday for the right to return to the playing fields, Elizabeth Hardison reports.
LGBTQ teachers talked to our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News on how they’re preparing for a return to the classroom and the issues that are concerning them as school resumes.
On our Commentary Page this morning, a Parkland, Fla. teacher and a Pa. social worker offer tips on how to help kids deal with the mental health toll of the pandemic. And opinion regular Aryanna Hunter has a few questions for state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, a fellow vet, over a resolution honoring military sexual assault survivors.
En la Estrella-Capital, Pa. le otorga $50M en pago por peligro a los trabajadores afectados por la pandemia. Muchos más esperan su turno. Y Pa. lanzará una aplicación gratuita para alertar a los usuarios de la posible exposición del COVID-19.
Pa Democrats who spoke during the DNC got a bump — from President Donald Trump, the Inquirer reports.
A newly filed Pennsylvania lawsuit alleges that Chipotle keeps the change from its cash-paying customers, the Tribune-Review reports.
PennLive delves into the tension between Gov. Tom Wolf and the PIAA over the Democratic administration’s non-binding recommendation to cancel fall sports.
Ex-Veep Joe Biden holds a narrow, 49-45 percent lead over Trump in a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll.
The Citizens-Voice has its take on Trump’s visit to NEPA.
The Erie Times-News’ editor pens an open letter to readers pledging coverage that better reflects the city’s diversity.
Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:
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Philly school officials have announced drop-off sites for parents who need child care this school year, WHYY-FM reports.
Curbside pickup has turned into a lifeline for American restaurants, Stateline.org reports.
A new attack ad from Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s re-election campaign slams GOP rival Heather Heidelbaugh as a ‘hack lawyer,’ PoliticsPA reports.
Politico has four big takeaways about Joe Biden during the DNC.
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Carol Maravic Milligan in Senate GOP communications, and to former PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch, both of whom celebrate today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.
Here’s one from Deacon Blue to end up the week. It’s an old favorite, “Dignity.”
Friday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Boston beat Baltimore 7-1 on Thursday night. Oof.
And now you’re up to date.