LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus comments on the Supreme Court ruling that strikes against anti-discrimination laws in Philadelphia, nation

HARRISBURG, June 22 – The LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus has called for statewide anti-discrimination protections after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a private Catholic agency and not with the city of Philadelphia last week, despite the fact the agency had violated a Philadelphia law by refusing to consider placing children for adoption with married LBGTQ+ couples.

“This ruling is more evidence that elections matter and that we in Pennsylvania cannot and should not rely on the courts for protections for LGBTQ+ people,” said state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. “Because we cannot rely on the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court, we lawmakers at the state level must pass nondiscrimination laws to protect the people in our commonwealth.

 “LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, and I will continue to fight for the rights that I and so many others across our state are entitled to,” Sims added.

 The LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus is a bicameral, bipartisan group of Pennsylvania legislators who advocate for equal protections for LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians.

“This is obviously a disappointment and a reminder that the battle for LGBTQ+ equality is far from over,” said state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, who co-chairs the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus with Sims and state Sen. Katie Muth. “As long as we have government-sponsored and sanctioned discrimination, this nation will fall short of its promise.

“I want all Pennsylvania families to know that I won’t stop fighting for them and for this commonwealth to be on the right side of history,” Frankel said.

“Although the ruling in Fulton v. Philadelphia is seen as a particularly narrow victory, it emphasizes the glaring and painful inequality imposed on LGBTQAI+ individuals and families throughout our commonwealth,” said Muth, D-Berks, Chester and Montgomery. “Discrimination is wrong. Period.

“According to the Pennsylvania State Resource Family Association, there are currently up to 15,000 children in Pennsylvania’s foster care system,” Muth added. “LGBTQAI+ parents are ready, willing and able to offer a loving home to children. Our very first step in Pennsylvania needs to be in passing the Fairness Act to outlaw all forms of discrimination in our state. In fact, this ruling harms children and prevents them from more options to be placed in safe and loving homes.”

Sims and Frankel also pointed to the PA Fairness Act, which they and other Pennsylvania House and Senate members promoted last week, alongside Gov. Tom Wolf. The legislation would prohibit discrimination against an individual based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, providing a long-overdue update to Pennsylvania’s law.

The court ruled in favor of Catholic Social Services on Thursday, June 17, after the agency said it was entitled to renewal of its contract with Philadelphia for screening foster parents, even though the agency violated city law by refusing to consider married LGBTQ+ couples.