FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 17
Contact: Logan Smith
Bend the Arc reacts to Supreme Court decision on foster care discrimination
The bottom line should always be children’s needs and best interests, not what will make child welfare agencies comfortable
WASHINGTON – Bend the Arc: Jewish Action released the following statement on Thursday in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia:
“When it comes to our child welfare system, the bottom line should always be children’s needs and best interests, not what will make child welfare agencies comfortable or uncomfortable,” said Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. “Today’s decision unfortunately does not uphold that foundational standard; by prioritizing this child welfare provider’s religious beliefs and allowing this provider to discriminate, the Court has in effect called into question whether LGBTQ children’s needs will be met by families who are willing, able and qualified to provide that care.”
“While we are relieved this decision was narrowly focused on the facts of this particular case, we cannot be complacent. We know too well that those who advocate for ‘religious liberty’ to be a blanket license to discriminate will not stop here. We also know all too well that any individual who interacts with taxpayer-funded social services, including food banks and homeless shelters, already faces too many barriers to receiving the care they deserve. As a clergy member, I want to say clearly that religious freedom in this society is crucial, but we cannot allow this freedom to be corrupted into yet another barrier placed in front of LGBTQ children, religious minorities, people of color, and so many others.
“As Jews, we often pray for a ‘sukkot shalom’ – a shelter of peace – to be spread over us and all the world so that no one has to live in fear. Each of the over 400,000 children and teens in foster care deserves a loving and caring home, but the Supreme Court’s decision in this case makes it harder instead of easier for too many children to find that peace. It is critical that Congress acts to prevent further harm. We call on the Senate to swiftly send the Equality Act to the President’s desk, and for both chambers to pass the Do No Harm Act and Every Child Deserves a Family Act as soon as possible.”
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action is uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the United States.