SCOTUS declines to create a general right to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans based on religious beliefs while ruling against the City of Philadelphia’s specific policy.
WASHINGTON, DC — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, today responded to The Supreme Court’s decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which affirmed that nondiscrimination laws do not conflict with the First Amendment, but found that the City of Philadelphia’s particular policy for foster and adoption agencies was not sufficiently neutral as applied in this specific case.
Statement from Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project:
“We are relieved that the Supreme Court did not recognize a general license to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on religious beliefs. LGBTQ young people may be hearing conflicting messages about what happened at the Supreme Court today and internalizing that news. This decision is disappointing in some ways, but LGBTQ youth should know it is also incredibly narrow and depends on unique circumstances in Philadelphia. Guidance from the Biden Administration has made clear that LGBTQ youth are protected from discrimination in schools, housing, employment, and everyday life. No matter the news and politics of the day, we want to remind LGBTQ young people that they are beautiful the way that they are and deserve to be loved and supported.
“As the largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth, we know how vital family support is to mental health and wellness. We know that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care due to increased experience with family rejection, stigma, and violence. Our research has found that LGBTQ youth who reported having been in foster care had three times greater odds of reporting a past-year suicide attempt compared to those who had not.
“This decision underscores the need to pass the Equality Act and protect all LGBTQ Americans from discrimination. We should be expanding access to loving homes for LGBTQ youth in foster care, including among prospective LGBTQ parents, who might be more likely to understand and care for their unique needs. For many LGBTQ people, foster care or adoption may be their most realistic path to parenthood. LGBTQ youth who hold that dream should be able to envision it for themselves without the fear of discrimination.
“Once again, we must reject the notion that you can not be both LGBTQ and a person of faith, or that those identities need be in conflict. Our research has found that one in four LGBTQ youth reported that religion was important or very important to them.”
In a recent study, 30% of youth involved in foster care were LGBTQ-identified compared to the estimated 11% in the general population who identified as LGBTQ. According to The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, LGBTQ youth who lived in homes that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide.
If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal or would like support from a crisis counselor, The Trevor Project is available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678678.
About The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.