State can’t snub Catholic Charities
The Associated Press July 18, 2011 9:28PM
Updated: November 2, 2011 12:48AM
SPRINGFIELD — A judge has confirmed that Illinois must temporarily continue referring foster children to Catholic Charities, despite the group’s policy on gay couples.
The Department of Children and Family Services had taken the position it could maintain current cases but did not have to send new children to the not-for-profit group.
Both sides agreed Monday that new cases will be referred.
DCFS ended its foster-care and adoption services with Catholic Charities on July 1 because it says the group discriminates by not allowing gay couples to take kids.
Catholic Charities had notified DCFS that it would suspend licensing of new foster care and adoptive parents as of June 1, the date the civil union law took effect. The group wants to continue its past practice of referring gay and unmarried couples to other agencies for foster care and adoption services.
Catholic Charities sued over DCFS’s July 1 decision. It says the state’s new civil unions law does not require it to place children with unmarried couples.
Catholic Charities of Joliet is one of three plaintiffs in the case, which also includes Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria and Springfield.
Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt ruled last week that the foster-care contracts stay in place until an August hearing.
Gov. Pat Quinn and other state officials have said that the decision to terminate the relationship with Catholic Charities was based on the organization’s unwillingness to comply with the new state law.
“Any organization that decides that because of the civil unions law that they won’t participate voluntarily in a program, that’s their choice,” Quinn said last week.