Supreme Court Rejects Broad Taxpayer-Funded License to Discriminate

Contact: Charmaine Riley, [email protected], 202.548.7166

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled that Philadelphia’s contract with Catholic Social Services was impermissible under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment: 

“Although the Supreme Court found that Philadelphia’s specific contract with Catholic Social Services violated the law, we are pleased that the Court recognized that governments can continue to enforce anti-discrimination laws and did not create an unjust license to discriminate. Nothing about today’s decision gives adoption or foster care organizations a special right to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

“State, local, and federal officials must work diligently to continue to pass and enforce comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, including the Equality Act.” 

In August 2020, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, National Women’s Law Center, and 27 additional national, state, and local organizations filed a “friend of the court” brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, urging the Supreme Court to affirm and reiterate that private entities that receive taxpayer-funded government contracts must follow anti-discrimination provisions.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit