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Views & Voices

Catholic Charities loses Illinois same-sex adoption lawsuit

Friday, August 19, 2011

An Illinois judge on Thursday reached a verdict in a lawsuit brought by Catholic Charities against the state regarding adoption services for same-sex couples in civil unions, and ruled that the state had the right to discontinue contracting with Catholic Charities.

When Illinois legalized civil unions on June 1 of this year, the Illinois State Department of Children and Family Services informed the adoption and foster care agency, Catholic Charities, that it would not renew its contract, citing the organizations refusal to put children in same-sex households.

Catholic Charities sued the state, asserting that this loss of over $30 million dollars in state funding, would effectively force the agency to shut down its adoption and foster care services.

The crux of the lawsuit, as addressed by Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt, was whether the State of Illinois had the legal right to void its annual contract with Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities, represented by the Thomas More Society – a legal group based out of Chicago – argued that because they had been providing these services for over forty years, and depended upon state funding to do so, they had a ” protected property interest”

Though Catholic Charities argument may seem persuasive to some, Judge Schmidt was not convinced, stating that Catholic Charities does not have a right to a contract with the government, and that “Plaintiffs are not required by the state to perform these useful and beneficial services.”

In fact, Judge Schmidt wrote, “The Plaintiffs’ contract with the State, which is renewable annually, is a desire of the Plaintiffs to perform their mission as directed by their religious beliefs. The fact that the Plaintiffs have contracted with the State to provide foster care and adoption services for over forty years does not vest the Plaintiffs with a protected property interest.”

Ben Wolf, the Associate Legal Director 0f the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, issued a statement praising the ruling, saying that:

Today’s decision by Judge Schmidt is a good decision for the children under the care of DCFS in Illinois. The primary goal in foster care and adoptive services must be the best interest of the children in need of loving, secure homes.

The State has a responsibility and constitutional obligation to assure that all decisions about foster and permanent homes for children are made in the best interest of the child – not other factors including the religious views of the contractual provider.

Lesbians and gay men across Illinois daily provide secure, good homes for foster and adoptive children – and have done so for many years. These loving parents must be allowed to participate fully and equally in any program performing the state’s function of licensing and placing children with foster or adoptive parents.

© Kyle Luebke.
For more by Kyle Luebke, click here to visit his blog.
Opinions and advice expressed in our Views & Voices columns represent the author's own views and not necessarily those of LGBTQ Nation. We welcome opposing views and diverse perspectives. To submit a article, column or video, contact us here. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication.

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Filed under: Illinois

14 more reader comments:

  1. I just shouted ‘HA.’ at my monitor. Needless to say, I’m pleased.

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:21am
  2. <3

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:21am
  3. Perfect!

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:25am
  4. :)

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:25am
  5. Moving forward

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:25am
  6. I WAS a CATHOLIC…..AND I AM DAM GLAD!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:28am
  7. YAY!!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:36am
  8. Yeaaaaaaaaaaa!
    When equality wins… It is a happy day.

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:54am
  9. YEEEEAAAAAAAH BITCHESSSSS!! Homos 1- Homophobes 0!!!! Whoot whoot!!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:57am
  10. If they want to discriminate, no state money!

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 8:00am
  11. it’s unfortunate that they’re so homophobic. They could have continued to do good.

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 8:07am
  12. Yeah, they’d rather let children languish in the foster care system than to let them to go to good parents that would love and care for them with the utmost of their being. They say to gay couples: There is no RIGHT to adopt, and the state said: There is no RIGHT to adoption SERVICES…now maybe the reports of children being raped by priests in the foster care services of IL will sharply drop

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 8:14am
  13. Notgonnagloatnotgonnagloatnotgonnagloat.

    Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 3:02pm
  14. This is great news. In my own country (England) a Christian husband and wife combo were denied access to fostering children this Feb, on the basis that they believed that homosexuality was an abomination against God and any sexually “confused” child who entered their home would be told so- They were struck off the fostering register. The couple took the local council to court because of this and subsequently lost their case. I am training to be a foster carer – I am also a lesbian. My own local council have known about this from the get-go – over here it isn’t an issue insofar as fostering and adoption. The law here in this regard centers on the fact that above all else, these children need positive role models with healthy un-biased attitudes, devoid of bigotry and any sort of ‘ism.’ This is a good first positive step forward in your country to the same outlook. nice one!

    Posted on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 7:19am