CHICAGO, Illinois, July 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Illinois’ remaining Catholic adoption agencies are seeking an emergency court injunction after the state ended their contracts last week over their refusal to participate in same-sex adoptions. The state’s move would end a thirty-year-old partnership and affect 2,500 foster children.
“They made a choice,” Gov. Pat Quinn, a Catholic himself, told reporters in a July 11th press conference. “They have a law in Illinois. It’s the civil unions law. I signed it into law. We’re not going back. Any organization that decides that because of the civil unions law that they won’t participate voluntarily in a program, that’s their choice.”
The Thomas More Society, acting on behalf of Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria, Joliet, and Springfield, will ask a Sangamon County judge for an injunction Tuesday.
The agencies had sued the state last month asking the court to declare that their policy of not recruiting unmarried couples for foster care was within the law.
But Erwin McEwen, director of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services, informed the agencies on July 8th that the state would not accept their contracts for fiscal year 2012 because they had “made it clear” that they would not comply with the new Act.
“The Department of Children and Family Services is unable to accept the offer and execute 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,” he wrote.
Promoters of the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, which was signed in January and took effect June 1st, had actively campaigned to dispel the “myth” that it would affect faith-based adoption agencies.
But an amendment proposed by the Act’s sponsor, Sen. David Koehler, who became alarmed after it was used to target faith-based agencies, failed in April.
Jack Smith of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph’s Catholic Key blog warned that the state’s outright lie in the lead-up to the bill’s passage should be a lesson for other states.
“Everywhere civil unions or same-sex marriages have become the law, they have been used to shut Catholic Charities out of adoption and foster care services,” writes Smith. “And there is no reason to expect they won’t be used to erode other religious freedoms down the road.”
“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,” he added. “It is far safer not to consider civil unions at all.”
Catholic Charities in the Rockford diocese has already voluntarily shut down in the face of state threats. The Archdiocese of Chicago stopped offering foster care in 2007 after they lost their insurance coverage.