Brief of Amici Curiae Scholars of the Constitutional Rights and Interests of Children in Support of Respondents

44 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2020

See all articles by Catherine E. Smith

Catherine E. Smith

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Tanya Washington

Georgia State University - College of Law

Lauren Fontana

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Jessica Dixon Weaver

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Cary Martin Shelby

Washington and Lee University School of Law

Angela Onwuachi-Willig

Boston University School of Law

Date Written: August 27, 2020

Abstract

This Brief of Amici Curiae Scholars of the Constitutional Rights and Interests of Children in Support of Respondents filed in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia makes two points. First, a categorical exemption, based on religious beliefs rather than foster children’s needs, does not serve the best interests of children and violates the government’s duty to foster youth. Such an exemption needlessly restricts the pool of prospective foster parents, increasing the risk of a greater number of children being confined to long-term, institutional care. The reduction of same-sex foster parents would also have a disproportionate impact on “special needs” and LGBT children in foster care.

Second, allowing a government contractor to exclude same-sex foster parents gives legal effect to private beliefs in the provision of public foster care services in contravention of the aims of the Fourteenth Amendment. The requested exemption would endorse unconstitutionally impermissible forms of discrimination on the basis of gender stereotyping, sex, and sexual orientation. The Supreme Court has drawn “upon principles of liberty and equality to define and protect the rights of gays and lesbians,” and their families. The Court should do so in this case to protect same-sex couples and children in foster care.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Catherine E. and Washington, Tanya and Fontana, Lauren and Weaver, Jessica Dixon and Shelby, Cary Martin and Onwuachi-Willig, Angela, Brief of Amici Curiae Scholars of the Constitutional Rights and Interests of Children in Support of Respondents (August 27, 2020). U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-21, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3682118 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3682118

Catherine E. Smith (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

Tanya Washington

Georgia State University - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

Lauren Fontana

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs ( email )

1380 Lawrence Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80204
United States

Jessica Dixon Weaver

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States
2147682641 (Phone)
2147683142 (Fax)

Cary Martin Shelby

Washington and Lee University School of Law ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States

Angela Onwuachi-Willig

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
6415102368 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bu.edu/law/profile/angela-onwuachi-willig/

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