Bishops in three Illinois dioceses announced Nov. 14 that they have dropped their lawsuit against the state and will shut down their adoption and foster care programs, after a civil union law required them to provide their services to same-sex couples.
“The decision not to pursue further appeals was reached with great reluctance, but was necessitated by the fact that the State of Illinois has made it financially impossible for our agencies to continue to provide these services,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, and Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet.
“Since we now need to close offices and lay off employees, further appeals would be moot,” the bishops said.
...Peter Breen, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, which represented the charities in their lawsuit against the state, called the news “tragic.”
In a Nov. 14 statement, Breen said the situation “stands as a stark lesson to the rest of the nation that legislators promising 'religious protection' in same sex marriage and civil union laws may not be able to deliver on those promises.”
Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Illinois Catholic Conference, summarized what he believes to be the underlying problem in remarks to CNA on Nov. 11.
What “you're seeing at the state level in Illinois, what you're seeing at the national level in Washington, D.C., is a consistent promulgation of policies and laws that are making it very difficult for faith-based agencies that believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Gilligan said.