WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled that the city of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment when it refused to work with an anti-LGBTQ+ foster care agency. While the ruling in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia was disappointing for invalidating a sensible anti-discrimination law, the logic of the decision avoided weakening broader protections against anti-Muslim discrimination, as well as protections against discrimination targeting LGBTQ+ individuals and other minority groups. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Senior Staff Attorney Matt Callahan:
“We are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to protect discrimination in Philadelphia but we are relieved that a more sweeping ruling legalizing taxpayer-funded religious discrimination was avoided. American Muslims, all religious minorities, LGTBTQ+ people and all minority groups in the U.S. can breathe a qualified sigh of relief—at least for now. However, we must prepare to fight this ongoing legal assault on anti-discrimination laws, supposedly in the name of religious freedom.
It is extremely troubling that a result where the Supreme Court protects discrimination in one city amounts to a best case scenario. This Court is clearly capable of enshrining many forms of discrimination, as we saw when several justices ruled to legalize the Muslim Ban. We must take action to prevent future legal assaults on our rights. That is why we are calling on Congress to pass the Equality Act, a bill that will modernize our civil rights laws and strengthen protections for people of all backgrounds.
We must be clear. The rights of American Muslims, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized communities are in danger. A crisis was averted today but the threat continues.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.