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Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

title page of historians brief

History professor Ellen Herman provides crucial historical information to a Supreme Court case on religious freedom, at the request of the ACLU.

Herman worked with Michael Grossberg, Indiana University Bloomington, and Catherine Rymph, University of Missouri, to coauthor the brief, to which four other historians signed on after the brief was finished.

The area of controversy in this case is whether foster case funding that comes from taxpayers can be legally used by sectarian agencies who wish to express ideas that they consider a matter of religious freedom but others consider a matter of discrimination. A major example of this is marriage or, more specifically, same-sex marriage. The Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case came about after religious-based foster care agencies refused same-sex couples as foster parents.

The brief provided by Herman, Grossberg, and Rymph argues that child foster care has been a “state prerogative” since colonial times, especially in the last 100 years.

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