The U.S. Supreme Court – now with five constitutionalists serving on the bench – will decide an important religious freedom case this session. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was on the bench last week when the Court heard oral arguments in Catholic Social Services v City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, known as the Fulton case.

Catholic Social Services has been serving communities, including finding children foster homes for 200 years. CSS has done this service within its long-held religious doctrines. In 2018 the City of Philadelphia learned that those doctrines included certifying for foster care only married couples between a man and a woman. The city then ordered CSS cut off from future foster care referrals. When CSS went to court claiming the violation of its religious freedom, both the federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled in favor of the City.

It’s important to note that CSS had never denied a same-sex couple certification. They don’t have to; same-sex couples looking to foster children have 29 other agencies from which to choose. The government shouldn’t deprive children of CSS’s essential services by discriminating against their religious beliefs.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on Wednesday, November 4, in which some justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to believe the city has the right to define the “balance” between religious freedom and LGBTQ demands – particularly when the government is dealing with contractors.

Justice Samuel Alito called out the City of Philadelphia for its hostility toward religious beliefs with which it doesn’t agree. He said, “If we are honest about what’s really going on here, this is not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have opportunity to be foster parents.” He said it’s really about the fact Philadelphia “can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett seemed to indicate this case did not require the Court to rule broadly on First Amendment rights. Two years ago, the Court ruled narrowly when it ruled in favor of Colorado custom cake decorator, Jack Phillips. In that case, the Court held states cannot impose regulations hostile to religious beliefs, but it did not rule on whether being forced by the state to decorate the cake for a same-sex couple was a violation of his First Amendment right.

We’ll get the Court’s decision in Fulton next year.

Adoption Awareness Month

Ideally, children in the foster care system find forever homes through the adoption process. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared November 2020 Arizona Adoption Awareness Month, thanking the families, faith-based organizations, and others involved in finding homes for Arizona children.

Arizona has made significant progress in finding placements:

  • 3,500 children adopted from foster care in 2019
  • 18,200 since 2016
  • AZ ranked 11th in the nation for increasing the number of adoptions from foster care last year

Needs according to AZ 1.27:

  • There are only 4 licensed foster families for every 33 children in need
  • About 2,700 children are eligible for adoption in AZ
  • Only 23% of children were reunified with their families last year

For the children aging out of foster care at age 18 or 21, the future is bleak, according to recent statistics. One in five will become homeless. Only about 4% will earn a college degree. Only half will be employed by age 24, many will experience PTSD, and more than 70% of the females will become pregnant by age 21.

To help or get more information, visit AZ 1.27, Christian Family Care, and Gen Justice.

Latest Election Results

Predictions about Arizona turning blue with millions and millions of dollars pouring into the state have not been realized. The nearly final Arizona vote count indicates a very slim win for Joe Biden for President, and Democrat Mark Kelly beat Republican Senator Martha McSally.

At CAP, we believe all legal votes should be counted and Americans need to be assured that voter fraud has not led to a different electoral outcome. That remains to be determined nationally.

In the U.S. House, a significant increase in Republican numbers appears likely with a noted increase in pro-life Republican women. Arizona will continue unchanged with five Democrats and 4 Republicans in Congress. The U.S. Senate makeup will be decided by two runoff elections in Georgia in January. Arizona now will have two Democrat senators.

The Arizona Legislature appears likely to remain with margins very similar to last session, with the potential for a mix of more conservative and more pro-life legislators. The party division looks like this:

  • AZ Senate will have 16 Republicans and 14 Democrats
  • AZ House will have 31 Republicans and 29 Democrats

The anticipated takeover of Maricopa County by Democrats has not happened. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appears poised to remain at four Republicans to one Democrat, with Democrat Adrian Fontes losing his bid to remain Maricopa County recorder to Republican Stephen Richer.

For more AZ results, visit results.arizona.vote.

ICYMI –

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