August 30, 2018 / 7:13 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. top court sides against Catholic agency over same-sex foster care

Aug 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday declined to force the City of Philadelphia to resume the placement of children in need of foster care with a Catholic agency that refuses to accept gay couples as foster parents.

In a decision that Catholic Social Services had said would force its foster care program to close, the justices refused the religious agency’s request for an injunction compelling the city to allow it to place children in foster homes while litigation over the dispute continues in lower courts.

A spokeswoman for the agency could not immediately be reached for comment.

In the brief order that did not include any reasoning for the decision, three conservative members of the court, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said they would have granted the agency’s request.

Five of the nine Supreme Court justices are needed to grant an injunction, but the court is currently one member short since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired at the end of July. The court is split 4-4 between liberal and conservative justices. President Donald Trump has nominated conservative federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy.

Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Richard Chang

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