Sharonell Fulton et al. v. City of Philadelphia et al.


Greenberg Traurig, LLP has submitted an amicus brief on appeal on behalf of the non-profit Children’s Rights, supporting the City of Philadelphia, which won a high-profile case rejecting a challenge to the City’s non-discrimination policy regarding LBGTQ+ foster parents.

The trial court held that foster care agencies receiving public funding cannot discriminate against prospective LGBTQ foster parents or others on the basis of religious belief. Catholic Social Services, a child welfare provider, appealed the decision, claiming that the right to free exercise of religion and free speech entitled the agency to continue to receive referrals from the City while rejecting otherwise-qualified same-sex couples as foster parents.

The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling. The appellate court concluded that Philadelphia’s non-discrimination policy is a neutral, generally applicable law, and that the religious beliefs of Catholic Social Services do not entitle it to an exemption from that policy. The amicus brief detailed the risk of serious harm to children in foster care, who so desperately need safe and loving homes, from narrowing the pool of prospective foster and adoptive parents.

The Greenberg Traurig team was composed by Kendyl T. Hanks (Picture), an appellate shareholder, with collaboration from firm shareholder Paul Ferrillo in the New York City office.

Involved fees earner: Kendyl Hanks – Greenberg Traurig; Paul Ferrillo – Weil, Gotshal & Manges;

Law Firms: Greenberg Traurig; Weil, Gotshal & Manges;

Clients: Children’s Rights;

Author: Ambrogio Visconti