By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com November 14 2011 10:32 PM ET
Three Catholic Charities groups in Illinois are dropping the lawsuit they filed against the state over the end of their contracts to provide adoption and foster care services.
The state had declined to renew the contracts this year because the Catholic agencies refused to place children with gay or straight couples who are in civil unions, but wanted to refer them to other agencies. The state’s civil unions law went into effect in June.
Officials with the dioceses of Joliet, Springfield, and Belleville issued a statement Monday saying they are dropping the suit “with great reluctance,” the Associated Press reports. The diocese of Peoria had withdrawn from the suit last month.
In August a circuit court judge ruled that the state was within its rights to end the contracts, but the dioceses appealed.
“I am encouraged to hear that Catholic Charities has realized they cannot win this lawsuit,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of the Civil Rights Agenda, an Illinois LGBT group. He said the case was “all about prioritizing religion over what is best for the children in their care,” adding, “Dropping this suit is a step in the right direction for what is best for all the citizens of this great state.”