Ill. Drops Adoption Contracts With Catholic Charities

llinois Gov. Pat Quinn affirmed the state's decision to not renew adoption contracts with Catholic Charities, making it clear that he fully supports a new civil unions law giving homosexual couples the right to adopt children.

Gov. Quinn is standing by the state's decision to not renew contracts with the faith-based organization after it expressed a religious objection to a recently passed legislation allowing homosexuals in civil unions the right to adopt or provide foster care.

Long before the law took effect on June 1, Catholic Charities had made it clear that the law violated Catholic beliefs and went against its mission to place children with married couples rather than co-habitating individuals.

Quinn defended state officials' decision not to do business with the organization, stating that the state's position on the matter is, "we're not going back."

Prior to the decision, the organization had received state funds for placing children with families.

Peter Breen, the attorney representing Catholics Charities, said officials tried to arrange a meeting with the state attorney general to resolve questions of alleged discrimination before the law took effect

The attorney general's office instead issued a letter in March stating that it had "received notice that Catholic Charities ... discriminates against Illinois citizens based on race, marital status and sexual orientation" in the provision of foster care and adoption services.

A second letter was sent to the attorney general's office in April again requesting a meeting. The office reportedly delayed its response until June 2, the day after the Civil Unions Act took effect.

Breen said of the state's decision, "It's a surprise. But it's also very disturbing."

Disturbing because the canceled contracts will have a "catastrophic" effect on about 2,000 children, he contends.

However, Quinn maintains that it was Catholic Charities that made the decision not to participate with the state.

"Any organization that decides that because of the civil unions law that they won't participate voluntarily in a program, that's their choice," he told reporters.

Breen, however, noted that the full title of the law is the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act.

"There were repeated statements that this law wouldn't impact the religious practices of anyone. But after it became law, our opponents are trying to impinge upon religious practices," he asserts.

Three Catholic dioceses located in the state decided to sue the Ill. Department of Children and Family Services and the Illinois attorney general over the new policies.

Catholic Charities USA President Rev. Larry Snyder expressed that the state should be inclined to respect its religious beliefs.

"Just as the identity of Catholic Charities is firmly rooted in the teaching of its church, the identity of this nation includes a mandated respect of religious beliefs," he said in the statement.

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