LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford has added his voice in a US Supreme Court case involving the City of Philadelphia’s nondiscrimination law and for the rights of same-sex couples to be foster parents.
Ford and other attorneys general in more than 20 states support Philadelphia’s position in a friend of the court brief.
“I fight for equality and justice for all,” Ford said. “Being a good parent should not be based on race or sexual orientation, and these vulnerable children need the deepest possible pool of welcoming foster families.”
According to a Thursday news release, the friend of the court brief argues that Philadelphia is entitled to require its own publicly contracted foster care agencies to follow the city’s nondiscrimination law. Under that law, the contractor must consider all qualified families seeking to care for children in need, regardless of the prospective foster parents’ race, religion or sexual orientation.
The contractor has sued, saying those laws conflict with religious objections to same-sex couples.
In 2019, the Third Circuit unanimously rejected the foster care provider’s arguments that the First Amendment requires granting such exemptions.
The group of state attorney general argue that government can require private contractors to abide by nondiscrimination rules, partly because they are pursuing government contracts by choice. That choice comes with the understanding that government rules will apply.
The states share an interest in ensuring that all their residents have equal access to government services, including foster care services provided by government contractors. “To ensure the welfare of every child in state custody, we welcome all qualified prospective foster parents who volunteer to open their homes, including LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples,” the brief reads.
In addition to Nevada, attorneys general from the following states joined the coalition: California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.