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Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Joins Supreme Court Brief in Support of Nondiscrimination Protections

September 14, 2020

Date: September 14, 2020
Contact: David Galin


ALBANY, NY – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan joined more than 160 other mayors, cities, and local governments, as well as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in asking the Supreme Court to rule in favor of upholding nondiscrimination requirements regulating government contractors and taxpayer-funded agencies. The friend-of-the-court brief supports the city of Philadelphia in the case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 4.

The brief says, in part, that mayors and local governments rely on contractors to deliver a wide range of public services to their diverse communities, and that allowing contractors to opt out of nondiscrimination requirements would be harmful and impair the delivery of those services. Specifically, the Albany City Code was cited in the brief as an “enacted [law] prohibiting government contractors from discriminating in the performance of the contracts they receive.”

“No one should be discriminated against because of who they love, who they are, or what they believe, especially by an organization that contracts with government agencies,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “I’m proud to join Philadelphia, New York City, and municipalities across the country to ensure cities are not forced to contract with organizations that discriminate against same-sex couples – or any other protected class of residents.”

“It is important that we protect all residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation, religion, gender, and all other protected characteristics when delivering government services, or when partnering with outside organizations to do so,” said Corporation Counsel Marisa Franchini. “That is why we must take a stand against this latest attack on not only the LBGTQ+ community, but all of our neighbors and community members.”

"Local governments in particular depend on government contractors for the delivery of public services," said Albany 6th Ward Common Council Member Richard Conti. “It's important that we assure our residents that those services are provided on an non-discriminatory basis in accordance with the laws we've adopted. That's why we have local laws prohibiting discrimination in contracted services.” Councilmember Conti authored the 1999 Albany local law prohibiting discrimination in contracted services that is cited in the brief.

In total, the mayors, cities, and towns represented in the brief serve more than 50 million Americans. They join other amicus brief signers in support of the city of Philadelphia, including major child welfare professional associations, LGBTQ youth service providers, faith-based foster care agencies, faith leaders, legal scholars, civil rights organizations, and bipartisan elected officials. 

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia considers whether a foster care agency may override the city of Philadelphia's contractual nondiscrimination requirement, which incorporates the city's fair practices ordinance, and turn away LGBTQ people or others seeking to be foster parents, based on the agency's religious beliefs. The outcome of the case may have broad implications for the application of nondiscrimination laws and government policies around the country. For more information on the case, visit https://www.freedomforallamericans.org/fulton/

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