Now that civil unions are legal in Illinois, groups that receive public money cannot discriminate against gay couples. So when a few Catholic adoptions agencies were faced with the prospect of giving children to gay parents, they decided to shut down instead. In their view, only straight couples and single-people-who-are-not-cohabitating are worthy of being adoptive parents.
In these Catholics’ eyes, having no parents is better for the children than having gay ones…
(Thankfully, the secular, non-discriminatory Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley took in the kids that the defunct Catholic agencies had to give up.)
Now, the state of Illinois has taken this kerfuffle one step further. They’re not even waiting for the other Catholic charities to shut themselves down; they’re planning to speed up that process:
The state has declined to renew its foster care and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities across Illinois…
Though four Catholic Charities agencies had already stopped licensing new foster parents, three of them will seek an injunction from a Sangamon County judge on Tuesday to continue serving families and abiding by Catholic principles that prohibit placing children with unmarried cohabiting couples.
At an unrelated news conference Monday, [Governor Pat] Quinn, a practicing Catholic, reiterated his support of the civil union law and the state’s decision to sever ties with Catholic Charities.
“We’re not going back,” he said. “They made a choice. Any organization that decides that because of the civil unions law that they won’t participate voluntarily in a program, that’s their choice.”
That means the Catholic groups will no longer be receiving over $30,000,000 in funding.
Bravo to the governor for taking a strong stance against bigotry and discrimination against LGBT people. It ought to be a simple thing to do, but most politicians don’t have that sort of courage.
The Quinn administration’s decision drew praise from the civil unions law’s chief House sponsor, state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).
“They’re totally within their rights to determine who can or cannot be married under their church law or who can be married by a priest or rabbi or in their facilities, but this is different,” Harris said of the religious groups. “But here, they’re coming to the state to get contracts to provide government services on behalf of the state. They can’t pick and choose which Illinoisans they think are worthy of those services.”
The Catholic Charities in Joliet, Peoria and Springfield have already sued the state because they want to continue discriminating against loving gay couples, and they were in court yesterday to seek an injunction. A judge ruled in their favor, meaning they can continue providing services… for now. But I hope that’s just temporary. No group should be able to receive taxpayer money and use it to deny equal rights to people.
(Thanks to CarrieBeth for the link!)