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Catholic Charities of Colorado is threatening to cease adoption and foster care services if that state's civil unions bill passes, even though the bill would not require the agency to serve gay couples.
Colleen Haggerty, who spoke on behalf of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Denver at a hearing in the state Senate last week, said officials with the group feared the establishment of civil unions for gay couples would lead to same-sex marriage. "Innate in our faith and the cornerstone of what the Catholic Church believes is the institution of marriage is one man and one woman, so to recognize this in any other way would go against what we believe," she said, according to Denver news site Westword.
She noted events in Illinois, where there was a conflict between the state and Catholic Charities over placing children with gay couples in civil unions. The Catholic group had a contract with the state to provide adoption and foster care, but because it would not serve same-sex couples, the state ended the contracts. Colorado Catholic Charities, which receives public funding for some of its services, would have to leave the child placement arena because "we would not be able to adopt to same-sex couples," Haggerty said.
"And the bill doesn't ask you to," said Sen. Pat Steadman, the sponsor, pointing out that the measure is different from the one passed in Illinois. "On page 18, it clearly states that, 'This bill is not to be interpreted to require child placement agencies to place a child for adoption with a couple that has entered into a civil union.' So I'm not understanding your objections."
Later in the hearing, Steadman said, "The abandonment of a charitable mission because we have to be charitable to all is a rather disappointing position."
The LGBT rights group One Colorado has started an online petition "asking our legislators to stay strong against these shocking scare tactics and threats" on the part of Catholic Charities. Find out more here.