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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Foster-care agencies have a First Amendment right to turn away same-sex couples, and local governments cannot refuse to work with those agencies, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

Why it matters: The court is carving out legal protections for people with a religious objection to same-sex marriage.

Details: The court ruled that the city of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment when it refused to continue working with a group called Catholic Social Services, which will not certify unmarried couples or same-sex couples as foster parents.

  • All nine justices agreed with that outcome, though they were splintered on the precise legal reasoning.

The big picture: The court previously sided with a baker who objected to baking cakes for same-sex weddings. Although that ruling wasn't as clear-cut, the thrust of the court's position is clear — same-sex marriage is legal, but religious objections to it must be taken seriously.

Go deeper

DOJ urges Supreme Court not to overturn Roe v. Wade

Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Sept. 9 news conference at the Department of Justice. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice sought permission Monday to present oral arguments when the Supreme Court hears a case challenging Mississippi's strict abortion law, as it called on justices to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The two briefs, filed by acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher, mark the latest attempt by President Biden's DOJ to "protect the legal right to an abortion," per the New York Times, which first reported on the court filings.

19 mins ago - Health

White House says Obamacare sign-ups hit record

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaking in the White House in December 2021. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House said Thursday that a record 14.5 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare marketplaces since Nov. 1, including more than 10 million enrollments through HealthCare.gov.

Why it matters: Last year's stimulus bill contained substantial investments in the program, including increased subsidies for people who don't receive health insurance from an employer or through Medicare or Medicaid.

40 mins ago - World

Kremlin says U.S. written responses ignored Russia's main NATO demand

Sergey Lavrov. Photo: Dimitar DilkoffI/AFP via Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the United States' written answers to Russia's security demands do not contain a "positive response" to the Kremlin's top priority, which is a freeze on NATO expansion, according to Russian state media.

Why it matters: A spokesperson for the Kremlin stressed that no conclusions will be drawn until Russian President Vladimir Putin has time to analyze the papers, but a lack of movement on Russia's core concerns means the crisis over Ukraine is unlikely to de-escalate.