One of the largest adoption and foster care services in Illinois has threatened to drop those services if it is forced to place children with gay and lesbian couples, a move that could affect thousands of children.
When the state’s new civil unions law goes into effect on June 1, Catholic Charities — with more than 3,000 children in its foster care and adoption agencies — said they do not plan to serve gay couples in those unions.
“The Catholic Church is not going to be OK with Catholic Charities processing applications from anyone in a civil union,” said Trish Fox, who runs Catholic Charities of Peoria. “And all we’re asking is that we can continue what we’ve always done, which is refer cohabitating couples, heterosexual or homosexual, to another agency.”
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The chief architect of the civil unions bill, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), said the new 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 pays Catholic Charities $30 million annually for its services.
“I don’t want my tax dollars to fund discrimination in any form, and that is exactly what the Catholic Charities are asking for: the right to discriminate,” said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda.
Last month, the Illinois Senate voted down a measure that would have allowed religious and faith-based groups to deny same-sex couples from adopting or fostering children.