ILLINOIS: Catholic Charities To End Adoption Services Due To Civil Unions
Catholic Charities of Rockford, Illinois announced yesterday that they will suspend all foster care and adoption services rather than comply with the state's new civil unions law.
Officials cited a lack of clarity in the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, which does not specify whether religious child welfare agencies must place children with couples in civil unions. Without a specific provision protecting religious agencies, church officials said, the agency can't risk losing state contracts or facing lawsuits if it turns away gay couples or others in civil unions. State funds make up about half of Catholic Charities of Rockford's $7.5 million operating budget.Catholic adoption agencies in other Illinois cities say they have not yet decided whether to stay open.
"While we understand leaving this work will be very painful for our client families, employees, volunteers, donors and prayerful supporters, we can no longer contract with the state of Illinois whose laws would force us to participate in activity offensive to the moral teachings of the church — teachings which compel us to do this work in the first place," said Frank Vonch, director of social services for the Diocese of Rockford, which includes Kane and McHenry counties.