Catholic Social Services (CSS) has contracted with Philadelphia to provide foster care services for over 50 years. CSS will not certify unmarried couples—regardless of their sexual orientation—or same-sex married couples because it believes that certification of prospective foster families is an endorsement of their relationships. As a Roman Catholic organization, CSS believes that marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. Philadelphia told CSS that unless it agreed to certify same-sex couples, the city would no longer refer children to the agency.
CSS sued on the grounds that the city’s rule violated CSS’s First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom to exercise its religion. The Court ruling agrees with CSS. While the Justices were unanimous in their opinion that the city of Philadelphia was wrong, they did not agree on why, as is plain to see by the number of opinions all agreeing with the same result:
Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the court, in which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, Kavanaugh, and Barrett joined. Justice Barrett filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Kavanaugh joined, and in which Justice Breyer joined as to all but the first paragraph. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined. Justice Gorsuch filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Justices Thomas and Alito joined.