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Catholic Charities Ends Adoptions

Catholic Charities Ends Adoptions


Catholic Charities of Rockford, Ill., has stopped providing adoption and foster care services rather than comply with a new civil unions law in the state.

According to The Huffington Post, "The move comes after months of drama in Springfield over an amendment to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, which goes into effect June 1. The law says that if an agency receives state money, it cannot discriminate against same-sex couples, and must treat people in civil unions as it would treat married couples."

The Illinois legislature voted down an amendment promoted by Catholic Charities and other religious and conservative groups to exempt faith-based organizations from facilitating adoptions or foster care applications from same-sex couples. Catholic Charities of Rockford announced its new policy on Thursday in response to the legislature's action.

reports that Catholic Charities of Rockford, which has a state budget of $7.5 million, handles around 350 foster family and adoption cases in 11 counties in northern Illinois. The Rockford diocese announced that about 58 employees would be terminated when they drop their current contracts in response to the civil unions law.

An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services spokesperson expressed confidence that the agency could handle the children displaced as a result of the move, as well any children potentially affected if other Catholic Charities agencies in the state drop their contracts. The state's six Catholic dioceses handle about 20% of the adoption and foster-care services in Illinois and have placed about 3,700 children over the past 10 years.

Anthony Martinez, executive director of the Civil Rights Agenda, an LGBT advocacy group, issued a statement calling the Rockford diocese's move "a sad display of bigotry by Catholic Charities, and their bigotry will now be harming the children in their care." He added, "It is equally sad that they would invoke 'freedom of religion' as they make this announcement. That freedom is granted only when the religious agency is not funded by taxpayer dollars, and they are well aware of that. Luckily, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has been anticipating this move and has a contingency plan in place."

In other news related to civil unions, the Illinois Catholic Health Association has recommended that Catholic hospitals begin offering "employee plus one" rather than "employee and spouse" benefit packages beginning June 1. Also, the Illinois Department of Insurance has published a guide to civil unions for consumers and insurance professionals, available at

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