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Judge stops state from canceling adoption, foster care contracts over civil unions

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Illinois judge on Tuesday granted the state’s Catholic Charities programs a preliminary injunction preventing the state from canceling its adoption and foster care contracts with the agencies.

Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Schmidt ruled that contracts between the state and Catholic Charities of Joliet, Peoria and Springfield through June 30 would remain intact.

Last week, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said it would not renew foster care and adoption contracts with the agencies because of their refusal to comply with the state’s new civil unions law, which grants same-sex couples many of the same rights as married couples.

Though the contracts had been renewed virtually automatically for years, negotiations seemed to be breaking down, and the state declined to renew the contracts last week. Since March, state officials have been investigating whether religious agencies that receive public funds to license foster care parents are breaking anti-discrimination laws if they turn away openly gay parents.

The judge set Aug. 15 for a full-scale hearing. In the meantime, he said, children in Catholic Charities’ care will not be shifted to other social service agencies because that could risk “irreparable injury.”

Catholic Charities argued the state’s interpretation of the civil union law is discriminatory because it would require placing children with gay or unwed couples.

Catholic Charities wants to continue its past practice of referring gay and unmarried couples to other agencies for foster care and adoption services.

Illinois’ civil unions law requires any charity that accepts state money to provide child-care services to treat people in civil unions as it would treat married couples. The state provides Catholic Charities $30 million annually for its services.

In April, the state Senate voted down a measure that would have allowed religious and faith-based groups to deny same-sex couples from adopting or fostering children.

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Filed under: Illinois

7 more reader comments:

  1. Craziness! It won’t stand I’m sure this ruling was just a fluke

    Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 9:08am
  2. Since there will be a hearing, it is then normal that the kids don’t suffer being thrown back and forth between different agencies. Though why do the Catholic Charities fight so much on that issue, since they are the ones that said they wanted out for not wanting to abid by the law is beyond me. Children are not their properties, they are wards of the state. Let the state deal with its ward by the laws of the said state. This is what happens when one state leaves its duties to religious institutions, they want to impose their own values onto the children and onto the citizens who are in need of this service to become parents of these kids.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 9:26am
  3. If the Catholic Adoption agency gets STATE money…they better abide by STATE law, if they don’t then they shouldn’t have to…the article said: Illinois’ civil unions law requires any charity that accepts state money to provide child-care services to treat people in civil unions as it would treat married couples. The state provides Catholic Charities $30 million annually for its services. Therefore, they should turn away the money if they want to discriminate

    Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 11:53am
  4. Spencer, not only the money that they should turn away, but the wards of the state too, since these kids are nobody’s properties but the state’s responsibilities. It’s not all about the state cash.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 2:28pm
  5. im kind of against this and yet for it on onje hand they will be able to find kids a home on the other hand they will turn people away who want to adopt just cuz they are eather gay or in a rlation ship wiht a person of the same sex

    Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 3:22pm
  6. Catholic Charities, Illinois’ favorite bunch of bigots, is after nothing more than the $30 million. They want to keep the money and discriminate. Frankly, the judge’s ruling is preposterous. The law is very cut and dried here: Take state cash, follow state rules.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 5:26pm
  7. They want to discriminate, yet want to get money, money that comes from gay and unmarried/single couples. Follow the damn laws like we all have to.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 8:39pm