Illinois ends Catholic Charities adoption contracts

Mon. July 11, 2011 5:02 PM by News Staff

Catholic Charities decision not to comply with Illinois law could impact 2,000 children

Chicago, IL - The State of Illinois will not renew foster care and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities, a move that follows legal battles over the state's new civil unions law, which gives gay couples many of the same rights as married couples.

"We are very pleased to hear of the State's decision on this matter," stated Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. "Not only is Catholic Charities trying to work around the civil union law, by not providing services to a certain group of people, they are also trampling all over the Human Rights Act and ignoring constitutional protections."

Since the civil unions law took effect June 1, the Peoria, Joliet, Springfield and Belleville dioceses said they'll only place children with married couples.

Rockford Catholic Charities halted its state-funded foster care and adoption services in May.

Last week, Gov. Pat Quinn notified the Catholic agencies that the state couldn't accept contracts from them for the 2012 fiscal year because they wouldn't comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Catholic Charities has received state funds for placing children for decades.

"Catholic Charities is acting on behalf of the state when they provide these services, and it is guaranteed by the laws of Illinois that when you accept public funds as an agent of the state you must treat those you serve equally, period," said Martinez.

About 2,000 children could be impacted by Catholic Charities' decision not to adhere to the new law.

The agencies plan to fight the state's decision.