* After losing a case when the judge declared that it had no “property rights” to a state contract, Catholic Charities plans an appeal that will focus on religious rights to continue to refuse to handle adoptions and foster-care placements involving couples joined under the civil unions law…
Peter Breen said the group will ask for a stay of Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt’s Aug. 18 ruling that sided with the state, which severed work with Catholic Charities after the agency refused to recognize Illinois’ civil union law. Breen said the charity also will ask the judge to reconsider, then take the matter to a state appellate court if Schmidt declines. […]
Illinois authorities had said they were canceling the contracts because Catholic Charities’ practice of referring unmarried couples to other agencies was discriminatory, a violation of the state’s civil union law. Catholic Charities argued that it was exempt under a provision in the civil unions law that protects religious practices.
Breen said Monday that Catholic Charities will seek a stay to give it time to appeal, believing “the financial impact on the charities of not receiving (such a reprieve) would be catastrophic.” Breen added that the not-for-profit agency’s “main thrust (on appeal) would be that you do not need to hold property in order to exercise religious rights.”
Catholic Charities hopes Schmidt reconsiders his ruling, “particularly on the issue of religious freedom,” Breen said.
* Springfield’s Bishop Thomas John Paprocki pretty well summed up the position of the church…
The message from the state of Illinois is simple: Organizations that only place children in accord with their religious beliefs are barred from state contracts – Catholics need not apply.
* A columnist at Catholic Online was far more blunt…
[I]f the state of Illinois wanted, it could easily pursue its secularist agenda without forcing Catholic Charities to violate its beliefs or shut down it services.
But the state clearly refuses to do this: the pattern of lies, manipulation, and abuse by the state, reveals an extreme level of intolerance and malevolence toward the Catholic Church and an utter disregard for the children. We need to pray for the welfare of children and religious freedom in our country.
* The Belleville News-Democrat wants the focus put back on the kids…
However, just because the state can legally cancel its contract with Catholic Charities doesn’t mean it should.
Catholic Charities has a decades-long track record of providing high-quality services for the children of Illinois at a reasonable price for taxpayers. These agencies combined handle about 20 percent of adoptions and foster care placements in Illinois; more than 600 children are served by Catholic Charities based in Belleville.
Why won’t the Department of Children and Family Services allow a religious exemption? Some other states with same-sex laws including New York do. Gov. Pat Quinn just signed into a law a bill that could allow Amish people to not have their photograph on state IDs, but Illinois can’t accommodate a Catholic group on the issue of civil unions?
Everyone in state government keeps talking about acting in the best interest of the children. Well, it’s in children’s best interest to keep this proven social services network in place.
* And what about those children?…
The battle between the Catholic Church and state of Illinois over foster care and adoption services has real-life ramifications for more than 250 East Central Illinois children.
Currently, about 135 children in Champaign County are in foster care homes managed by Catholic Charities, according to state figures. In Vermilion County, the agency oversees 125 foster cases. […]
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the other major provider in this region, has a caseload of 131 in Champaign County and 48 in Vermilion. The remaining cases are handled by DCFS caseworkers directly or other agencies where families may have moved to another county. […]
DCFS will send a team from its licensing division to review the status of every child’s case. At the same time, it will review the capacity and performance of other agencies that may be interested, he said.
“If we get asked, yes we’re interested,” said John Schnier, executive director of Lutheran’s Children’s Community Services. “At this point, nobody’s heard anything from DCFS.”