MAPLEWOOD, NJ — On Sept. 3, Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee joined more than 160 other mayors, cities and local governments, as well as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in asking the Supreme Court to rule in favor of upholding nondiscrimination requirements regulating government contractors and taxpayer-funded agencies. The friend-of-the-court brief supports the city of Philadelphia in the case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which will be heard by the Court on Nov. 4.
The brief reads, in part, that mayors and local governments rely on contractors to deliver a wide range of public services to their diverse communities, and that allowing contractors to opt out of nondiscrimination requirements would be harmful and impair the delivery of those services.
“As a mayor, I know that my constituents need access to services from a wide variety of contractors and service providers without fear of discrimination,” McGehee said. “A loss in this case could result in taxpayer-funded agencies — such as foster care agencies, food banks and homeless shelters — having a broad right to discriminate. A negative outcome in this case could harm all of my constituents, but especially the most vulnerable members of our community. No one should worry about being turned away from crucial services because of who they are or what they believe.”
In total, the mayors, cities and towns represented in the brief serve more than 50 million Americans. They join a number of other amicus brief signers in support of the city of Philadelphia, including major child welfare professional associations, LGBTQ youth service providers, faith-based foster care agencies, faith leaders, legal scholars, civil rights organizations, bipartisan elected officials and more.
Fulton v. City of Philadelphia considers whether a foster care agency may override the city of Philadelphia’s contractual nondiscrimination requirement, which incorporates the city’s fair practices ordinance, and turn away LGBTQ people or others seeking to be foster parents, based on the agency’s religious beliefs. The outcome of the case may have broad implications for the application of nondiscrimination laws and government policies around the country. For more information on the case, visit www.freedomforallamericans.org/fulton/.