Originally published on Advocate.com July 12 2011 7:30 AM ET
Catholic Charities of Illinois will seek a court injunction Tuesday against state officials who have declined to renew adoption contracts with dioceses that have fought for religious exemption from the new civil union law.
Last month three Catholic dioceses sued for exemption from the law in their state-funded adoption and foster care contracts. A fourth diocese has also indicated that it does not want to place children with gay families, while a fifth, the diocese of Rockford, has pulled out of public adoption and foster care services altogether (its cases have since been successfully transferred to another local agency).
Catholic Charities' position prompted a letter last week from an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services official, who wrote that the state would not be renewing their contracts in fiscal year 2012.
"Any organization that decides because of the civil unions law that they won't participate voluntarily in a program, that's their choice," Gov. Pat Quinn, a practicing Catholic, said at a Monday press conference.
An attorney for the Thomas More Society, which represents Catholic Charities in the lawsuit and in today's court proceedings in Sangamon County, told Catholic News Agency that Quinn has ignored “the legislative intent of the law” and is pushing “a partisan political agenda instead of enforcing the laws as they were written and intended by the General Assembly.”
But LGBT rights attorneys have sharply criticized Catholic Charities’ desire to exclude gay couples from state-funded adoption and foster care services.
"They're asking permission to put their desire to discriminate ahead of the welfare of children in state care," Camilla Taylor, national marriage project director for Lambda Legal, told The Advocate last month. “And they're asking to do this at taxpayer expense. It's a tragic result for children."