What’s next? Experts on LGBTQ rights vs. religious protections after Supreme Court foster-care ruling

Supreme Court flag
A LGBTQ pride flag flies during a celebration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the 2015 decision that ruled same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. (Photo courtesy of Matt Popovich via Creative Commons)

A unanimous Supreme Court decision in a Pennsylvania foster-care dispute shows the legal fight pitting religious protections against LGBTQ rights is far from over.

In Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, all nine justices on the conservative-majority high court sided with Catholic Social Services, a longtime foster-care agency that refused to serve same-sex foster parents. The case is one of the latest battles in the ongoing culture war being fought in courts, legislatures, workplaces and the public square.

The 9-0 decision is seen as a loss for LGBTQ advocates, but experts say the narrow ruling leaves the door open for future litigation, USA TODAY reported.

The latest edition of ReligionLink features experts on LGBTQ rights, religious protections and the fights that generate controversies putting these issues at odds with each other.

Background information

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

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  • Samuel D. Brunson

    Samuel D. Brunson is a law professor at Loyola University Chicago. Brunson is an expert on religion and the tax system.

  • Kim Colby

    Kim Colby is senior counsel at the Christian Legal Society in Springfield, Virginia, and has worked at the society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom since 1981.

  • Leslie Cooper

    Leslie Cooper serves as deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project. Over the last two decades, she’s worked on many cases related to the rights of LGBT adoptive parents.

  • Marianne Duddy-Burke

    Marianne Duddy-Burke is the executive director of Dignity USA, a Catholic organization committed to the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church and society.

  • Richard Garnett

    Richard Garnett is a professor of law and political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is an expert on the Supreme Court, church-state issues, religious liberty and Catholic social thought.

  • Marie-Amélie George

    Marie-Amélie George is a legal historian and a law professor at Wake Forest University. George specializes in LGBTQ rights and teaches family law.

  • Shoshana K. Goldberg

    Shoshana K. Goldberg is a professor in the department of maternal and child health at The University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Goldberg is an expert in LGBTQ health.

  • Marci A. Hamilton

    Marci A. Hamilton is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder, CEO and academic director for Child USA, a nonprofit think tank aimed at ending child abuse. Hamilton, who began her career as a lawyer, is an expert on child sex abuse statutes, as well as law and religion. She is author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty.

  • Aziz Huq

    Aziz Huq teaches law at the University of Chicago and is the author of “The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies.” Huq also clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

  • Anthony Michael Kreis

    Anthony Michael Kreis is a law professor at Georgia State University. His areas of expertise include employment discrimination, anti-discrimination and the law’s treatment of LGBTQ people.

  • Douglas Laycock

    Douglas Laycock is a professor of law and religious studies at the University of Virginia and an authority on religious liberty. He is the author of several books and articles on law and religion and co-edited a collection of essays on same-sex marriage and religious freedom.

  • Douglas NeJaime

    Douglas NeJaime is law professor at Yale Law School. NeJaime is an expert on family law, legal ethics and law and sexuality.

  • Nelson Perez

    Archbishop Nelson Perez leads the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

  • Jennifer Pizer

    Jennifer Pizer is law and policy director at Lambda Legal, a national legal organization advocating for LGBTQ rights. Contact Tom Warnke for media requests.

  • Frank Ravitch

    Frank Ravitch is chair of law and religion at Michigan State University and a scholar of constitutional religious freedom protections. He is author of  several books on the Constitution’s religion clauses, including Freedom’s Edge: Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and the Future of America and Masters of Illusion: The Supreme Court and the Religion Clauses.

  • Ronald E. Richter

    Ronald E. Richter is CEO and executive director of JCCA, a foster-care program in New York. Richter also is an adoptive parent. Anna Gold is the media contact.

  • Micah Schwartzman

    Micah Schwartzman is a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. His areas of expertise include law and religion.

  • Elizabeth Sepper

    Elizabeth Sepper is a law professor at the University of Texas, Austin. She is an expert
    on religious liberty. Previously, Sepper was a Center for Reproductive Rights Fellow at Columbia University law school and co-authored a Feb. 9, 2012, U.S. News & World Report post about the Obama administration’s contraception coverage mandate.

  • Stacey Stevenson

    Stacey Stevenson is the CEO of Family Equality, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ families.
    Anna Libertin is the media contact.

  • Christina Wilson Remlin

    Christina Wilson Remlin is lead counsel for the child welfare organization Children’s Rights. Camilla Jenkins is the media contact.

  • Robin Fretwell Wilson

    Robin Fretwell Wilson is the co-director of the Family Law and Policy Program at the University of Illinois, where she also teaches. She is also the director the Institute of Government and Public Affairs for the University of Illinois System. Her books include Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights, and the Prospects for Common Ground and The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law.

  • Adam Winkler

    Adam Winkler is a professor at UCLA Law School. He is an expert on the Supreme Court.