Catholic Charities Asks For Immediate Injunction After Illinois Terminates Adoption Contracts


More fallout from Illinois' bad civil unions bill, which is now about to push Illinois Catholic Charities out of doing adoptions and foster care state-wide:

Catholic Charities' long history of providing foster care services in downstate Illinois could hinge on a Sangamon County judge's decision after an emergency injunction hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Attorneys for three Catholic Charities agencies, including Peoria, filed for the emergency hearing - the latest round in a tug-of-war between Catholic Charities and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services that began when civil unions became law in June - after DCFS notified them their contracts would not be renewed for the 2012 fiscal year.

... According to the letter DCFS officials sent to Catholic Charities in Peoria, Joliet, Springfield and Belleville, the state agency could not renew the contracts "because your agency has made it clear that it does not intend to comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act."

... The suit seeks to continue Catholic Charities' agencies long-standing practice of licensing only married couples or single non-cohabiting individuals for state-funded foster care and adoptions. Before the civil unions law, DCFS and Catholic Charities had operated with the understanding that the agencies could refer co-habitating couples to other agencies.

The agencies have argued that the civil unions law could create unprecedented upheaval for more than 2,500 foster care cases in 89 counties unless the law is changed or clarified to allow them to continue the precedent already set by the state.

Governor Quinn - who campaigned for the civil unions bill and signed it into law - supports the will of the state against the wishes of catholic charities:

“We're not going back,” he said. “They made a choice. Any organization that decides that because of the civil unions law that they won't participate voluntarily in a program, that's their choice.” --Chicago Tribune

Jack Smith, editor of the official newspaper for the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, documents the 180-degree switch completed by gay advocates on this question before and after the bill passed:

Opponents of the bill charged that creating civil unions would impinge on religious freedom. The bill’s proponents went out of their way to say it would not – in order to get it passed.

According to an op-ed in the Quad City Times,

The bill sponsor, Sen. David Koehler, clearly promised in his Senate floor testimony that the law would not impact “the social services” or the “adoption agencies” of religious organizations.

Equality Illinois, a major proponent of the bill, even put together a widely distributed Q & A on the bill intended to dismiss “myths” about the bill’s intentions. One question read:

5. How would the Act affect religious affiliated adoption agencies?

Answer: The Act would not impact faith-based adoption agencies or adoption procedures. The Act does not amend the Adoption Act, which governs both public and private adoption agencies.

But then the bill passed, and religious freedom went out the window as some in state government, the Catholic governor included, began to argue that the passed bill does not in fact exempt Catholic Charities from facilitating adoptions to those in civil unions.

... Other states would do well to consider Illinois’ experience. When it comes to the hierarchy of freedoms in a post-civil union/same-sex marriage state, the desires of same-sex couples for affirmation trumps every other right – no matter how well you craft your legislation.

Welcome to yet another example of religious liberty being curtailed in the public square by gay rights advocates.