Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Illinois Catholic Charities Ends Its Anti-Gay Adoption Lawsuit

Justice, the Illinois Constitution and the U. S. Constitution have prevailed in Illinois and the message has been sent that that an organization cannot accept government funds and then turn around and discriminate against taxpayers based on religious based bigotry. As blogger compatriot Waymon Hudson writes at The Bilerico Project, Illinois Catholic Charities has withdrawn the lawsuit challenging the State of Illinois' refusal to renew adoption and foster care contracts with Catholic Charities because of the organizations refusal to provide services to same sex couples recognized under that state's civil union law. Needless to say the child rapist enablers/protectors within the ranks of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops must be less than happy - even as they launch a new anti-gay website to "defend marriage." And as news breaks of new multimillion dollar sex abuse awards and convictions of Catholic priests here and here. And there's this story on Bishop Robert Finn avoiding indictment via a plea arrangement. But I digress. Here are highlights from Waymon's post:

The legal battle between Catholic Charities and the state of Illinois over the organization's state-funded adoption and foster care contracts, and their refusal to grant those services to same-sex couples in civil unions, is finally over. The dioceses of Joliet, Springfield, and Belleville released a statement saying they were withdrawing their lawsuit with "reluctance."

Illinois ended the over $30 million dollars in annual contracts with Catholic Charities after the organization said they would refuse to offer its tax-payer funded services to same-sex couples in civil unions.

The legal battle had not been going well for Catholic Charities. Circuit Judge John Schmidt had ruled earlier that the state does not have to renew its foster and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities, denied the group's emergency request for a stay of his decision, and refused to reconsider his ruling. The state has already been transitioning the group's 2,000 foster care and adoption cases to other agencies that comply with the newly enacted Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act.

The Catholic Church in Illinois isn't getting out of the civil union and marriage equality fight completely, however. The Catholic Conference of Illinois recently announced the formation of a "Defense of Marriage" department whose purpose is to fight any future attempts to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The stated purpose of the department is to protect the "stature of the nuclear family - which provides love, stability and confidence to children, as well as organization to society."

So while the end of Catholic Charities' adoption contract lawsuit is a victory for the equal application of the law and state services, the fight between civil rights and equality for LGBT Americans and powerful religious organizations like the Catholic Church is far from over.

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