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IL Catholic Charities drops lawsuit, will abandon child care to avoid serving LGBT parents

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Three Roman Catholic dioceses have dropped their lawsuit against the state of Illinois, agreeing to transfer more than 1,000 foster care children and staff to other agencies in their regions to avoid placing children in the homes of gay and lesbian parents.

The Illinois Catholic Charities was seeking an exemption from the state’s new civil unions law which took effect on June 1. The 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 decision by leaders in the dioceses of Joliet, Springfield and Belleville ends a historical partnership between Illinois and the charitable arm of the Catholic Church, which inspired the state to address child welfare in the first place and led to the creation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.


In discussions after the civil union bill went into effect in June, representatives for Catholic Charities in Joliet, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford and Belleville told the state that accommodating prospective foster parents in civil unions would violate Catholic Church teaching that defines marriage between a man and a woman.

Pointing to a clause in the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act that they believe protects religious institutions that don’t recognize civil unions, the agencies said they would refer those couples elsewhere and only license married couples and single parents living alone.

But lawyers for the Illinois attorney general said that exemption only shields religious clergy who don’t want to officiate at civil unions. The policy of Catholic Charities violated state anti-discrimination laws that demanded couples in civil unions be treated the same as married couples, they said.

The state previously provided Catholic Charities $30 million annually for its services, but announced in July it would not renew its foster care and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities when the group said it would not comply with the civil unions law.

“I am encouraged to hear that Catholic Charities has realized they cannot win this lawsuit,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda.

“This case and the legislation that has been introduced multiple times this year is all about prioritizing religion over what is best for the children in their care. Finding a loving home for the thousands of children in the foster/adoption system should be the priority, not trying to exclude people based on religious dogma. Dropping this suit is a step in the right direction for what is best for all the citizens of this great state,” he said.

The Rockford and Peoria dioceses have already terminated their adoption and foster cares programs and transferred their child welfare cases to other agencies willing to work with gay and lesbian couples.

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Filed under: Illinois

42 more reader comments:

  1. Wow. Let’s punish the innocent for our selfish views. Good job.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:35am
  2. Stupid is as stupid does.
    And I think we can all agree that these bastards are very stupid.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:37am
  3. I’m split on this one. I mean I’m out and proud, I’m thrilled that we’ve won Civil Unions here in Illinois, but on the other hand I don’t believe it is right to force Religious Organizations into things, but Catholic Charities is a “public” service. I don’t know, it’s just a shame and a disgrace that everything has to be turned into an ugly battle.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:39am
  4. Whatever happened to “Love thy neighbor?”

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:41am
  5. As sad as it is that there are people out there like this I must say that I applaud them for removing themselves from the situation. We don’t need the hatred and intolerance these people show affecting our children and ensuring that this cycle will continue.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:46am
  6. How sad for the children. This proves how self-serving the Catholic church is !!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:46am
  7. Good riddance. Social services are not supposed to be private charities but services that belong to the community and all its citizens. Children under the care of social services are not material that belong to these private enterprises that are religious institutions. Children are nobody’s properties but the responsibility of the nation where they belong. They have the right not to be abused and they have the right to be properly educated, not indoctrinated into all their stupid fairy tales.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:52am
  8. I am Catholic. I do think these children should be placed with Catholic famlies. It should not matter if it is a gay or straight family.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:55am
  9. The children needing safe homes are not necessarily Catholic. …The state of IL thinks this is a good thing, but Catholic Charities has been providing foster care and adoption for a long time. Abject bigotry gets a pass, once again, in the name of religion. Talk about using God’s name in vain.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 6:09am
  10. I’ve always hated catholics

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 6:11am
  11. Wow, sounds so un-Christian to me.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 6:30am
  12. They can turn a blind eye to their priests and bishops exploiting children for decades, they turned a blind eye when the nazi’s were committing genocide, they turned a blind eye during the time of slavery, they took part in slaughtering their own Knights Tempars. They killed off thousands of men and women thought to be too smart for their own good. They restricted science at every opportunity they could. Killing many who chose their research over sharing catholic beliefs. Yet for some reason the viral contagion known as the catholic church is just as strong as ever. Catholicism is a disease that needs to be cured for humanity to move forward towards a progressive advanced society.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 6:45am
  13. Um, let’s not tar and feather all Catholics, please… As a gay man and a non-practicing Catholic, I have a wonderfully progressive Catholic nun as an aunt who would have loved to have attended my husband and my wedding in 2010, if she were not living in NZ, and I have another relative (Fr. Felix Donelly), who was able to attend our wedding, who has been censured by the Catholic hierarchy for his outspoken support of gay rights and equality in NZ. Yes, the Catholic Church has some incredibly outdated views, institutionally, but PLEASE! have some respect for some of the wonderful people who are Catholic and HAVE been fighting for justice. If the best you can offer is unbridled hatred of all Catholics as a group, then seriously, you’re no better than those you’re attacking!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:18am
  14. Good fucking riddance. The whole world will be a better place without you. Please make your exit as soon as fucking possible.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:33am
  15. So much for those iconic songs, ‘Jesus loves the little children…’ and ‘Jesus loves me…’ being part of the Catholic Church’s repertoire. This isn’t for the love of children, but the hatred of gay and lesbian parents. So sad…beyond words.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:38am
  16. Speaking truth about the catholic churches history is not an attack, it’s historical fact. Religion as a whole is a virus that corrupts the minds of otherwise good people who gave up thinking for themselves in hopes of a mythological presence in the afterlife.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:54am
  17. Catholic Church = HATE

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:54am
  18. It is not the Catholic Church, it is the people who run it in the Vatican. I know several “rebel”, in terms of the vatican’s eyes, catholic priests in MA. My catholic priest helped me accept my sexuality.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:56am
  19. All of the above commentators who can offer nothing more than simplistic characterizations of Catholicism, or who apparent have caught the bug and jumped on the Catholic-bashing bandwagon of hate (which ironically mirrors the hate they so despise)… If you cannot grasp that the church, like governments, like big and small corporations and organizations, is actually NOT monolithic, has in fact dissenting voices from within, then I pity your lack of maturity and intelligence.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 8:10am
  20. That’s a shame, actually. Catholic charities (as well as other groups with religious affiliations) do a lot of good things and provide many services to the community. Let’s hope in the future, the hierarchy has a change of heart.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:23am
  21. Pretty spiteful.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:29am
  22. John, the Catholic Church is not a democratic institution. It has leaders which decide *official* rules. If one does not follow these rules, one shouldn’t call oneself Catholic (otherwise, you just sound like you’re using “no true Scotsman” type logic). Furthermore, historically, the Catholic Church has done things worthy of hatred (as outlined by several comments above). Finally, it is not just Catholics, but all religion that is the problem – and in my experience, it takes maturity and intelligence to see this.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:53am
  23. Others can provide the care better, without teaching the kind of hate & fear the Catholic Church does.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:39am
  24. But are the children catholic hun? And are they given the right to choose? Or is the fourteen year old raised by their recently deceased parents now put in a new strange religion on top of the new strange home? Whose to say the child is catholic. It’s the persons right to think for themselves not the adoption agency. It’s common respect of their mind. God’s love is a gift….gifts are recieved not shoved in the face one way or another. If they were meant to be a child of God i doubt the home placed will get in His way. The catholic undermind the power of God to think that we can minipulate the His abilities by placing children where we think is best. God works in mysterious ways…..let Him. Religion has too much of a control factor these days. Everyone fighting….no one loving. Mary magdalene ring a bell….every man in town new her….jesus embrased not hid her in the basement. Love thy neighbor and show the love of the Father. I see no love. Or allowing the love of the Lord to show through. Sad.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:55am
  25. @John, what people who happened to be catholic did good did it because they were good people, not because they were catholic. Catholicism in itself is led by its dogma, with its principles of indoctrinating or killing the one who doesn’t believe their idiotic myths.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 12:16pm
  26. Anybody with an ounce of intelligence understand that.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 12:17pm
  27. SAD!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 12:20pm
  28. if you ask me the kids are better off not being in a place where bigotry is encouraged.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 3:54pm
  29. They were never told they couldn’t run if they didn’t adopt to lgbt people, just that they couldn’t get state funding. they can still adopt out and do everything they want only they’ll have to depend on privet donations. Its their choice to not qualify for state funding.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 3:57pm
  30. YEA skip the Lesbos that make over 100K and place the kids with on tooth wonders on welfare!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 8:56pm
  31. they hate use THAT much?

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:02pm
  32. BYE, they shouldnt be in the business anyways, getting OUR Gov’t Funds…and WHO are they to Judge who can be or who would make great parents? They and their children abusing priest know? O K. BYE BYE BYE churches needs to be Taxed and they need to keep their Greedy hands out of our pockets.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:07pm
  33. How truly sad. I cannot imagine Jesus of Nazareth turning ANYONE away. Another reason why I left that church…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:18pm
  34. and all in the name of their god huh!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:23pm
  35. good. who needs a hate inspired church anyways

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:40pm
  36. It’s too funny how POS religious fanatics think they can hide behind religion to do anything they want in society, especially spreading hatred and bigotry against others. So here’s your wake up call, you can’t. Everyone has to obey the laws, you’re nothing special just because you conjure up an imaginary belief system. It’s time to start making religious nuts pay a steep price for their actions.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:45pm
  37. Good riddance. This hasn’t been a problem anywhere it has happened. Someone else takes over. Done. :-{P}

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:57pm
  38. @Martin… Apparently you’ve never attended a Catholic mass or attended catechism classes for over a decade. At NO point was I ever indoctrinated to kill someone who didn’t share Catholic beliefs. And to ignore the actions of thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate Catholics, who do not agree with all tenets espoused by the hierarchy is to ignore the FACT that Catholicism is an organic belief system, that has undergone many changes over its 2000 years of history…albeit slowly.

    Surely anyone with an ounce of intelligence should be able to grasp that.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:12pm
  39. You are the weakest link! Good bye!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 10:58pm
  40. so much for the children they’re sooo worried about-sorry,kids,you’ll just have to age-out of the system because these complete strangers ”know what’s best”

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 11:35pm
  41. Why do you hate me?

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 11:58pm
  42. The idiots simply turn a blind eye to their priests raping little children, but they b*tch and moan when they have to help LGBT people? Hypocrites, each and every one of ‘em.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 4:43am