ACLU Intervenes In Catholic Charities Adoption Rights Case

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A judge is allowing the American Civil Liberties Union to intervene in the battle over adoption rights for same-sex couples.

The lawsuit centers on Catholic Charities’ policy of excluding same-sex couples in civil unions, and only serving married heterosexual couples who wish to adopt.

After civil unions became law at the beginning of June, Catholic Charities in Springfield, Peoria, Joliet and Belleville sued to forbid enforcement of a law that would forbid them from turning away same-sex couples when placing wards of the state.

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office said at the time that Catholic Charities, as a taxpayer funded entity, had to abide by the state’s definition of a legally recognized couple.

Now the ACLU says Catholic Charities’ policy constitutes discrimination. The organization moved this past Friday to intervene in the case on behalf of children in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The ACLU says under the state constitution, decisions affecting children in DCFS care are to be made based upon “the best interest of the child,” and not the religious convictions of the adoption agency.

The ACLU also says Catholic Charities is claiming a “religious right to discriminate,” but in choosing homes for wards of the state of Illinois, the group is performing a state government function. State government does not have the legal right to discriminate against homes using religious objections, and the same applies to private agencies with which the state has contracted, such as Catholic Charities, the ACLU argued.

“This is not tolerable in an inclusive society,” John Knight, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project of the ACLU of Illinois, said in a news release. “It harms children by limiting the pool of potential adoptive parents and harms our clients – basically telling them that they are not capable of parenting solely because they are lesbians.”

Last month, the state decided not to renew its adoption contract with the Catholic Charities.

But that decision was quickly reversed. Attorneys for the agency issued an emergency filing pointing out that when Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt issued a preliminary injunction in favor of Catholic Charities in the group’s lawsuit, he said the relationship between the agency and the state had to remain as it had prior to the June 30 contract expiration.

Thus, the state was obligated to continue referring cases to the agency, attorneys said.

The civil unions law grants domestic partnerships with many of the same benefits of marriage to both gay and straight couples.

But attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, representing Catholic Charities disagreed. He says Catholic Charities provides adoption and foster care services to married couples and civil unions don’t count as marriage.

“Catholic Charities does not make child placements with unmarried couples, same sex or opposite sex,” he said in June.

Breen said the agency operates under Catholic teachings, which state marriage is defined as between one man and one woman.

Three attempts to pass legislation restrict adoption by same-sex couples have failed.

The most recent attempt was in June, when state Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) attempted to amend an ethics bill by inserting language that would allow adoption agencies affiliated with religious groups to turn away same-sex couples, Gay Chicago reported.

  • lima

    And you are one of the most ignorant in America!

  • Larry Fredricks

    God I hate the ACLU. Everything they have ever supported, seems to be the wrong side of the issue. I wish they would just go away and stop making trouble all the time!!!!!


    Please refrain from posting multiple comments, from the same person, using different aliases.

    • Curious

      Who is going to do that?

  • southside

    Clearly our state’s leadership does not care about the welfare of the children. They’d rather rally behind supporting the dysfunctional.

  • Gene

    The ACLU is the biggest piece of garbage organization in the US. Who the hell are they to say anything? The Catholic Church is trying to protect the kids! It’s all about the kids. The last thing children need to be taught, is that it is OK to choose a gay lifestyle. These sick twisted puppies should never be allowed to adopt. This seems like a no brainer to most of us!.!.!

  • Native Chicagoan

    A Civil Union is not the same as a Marriage. It is similar but not the same. The Catholic Charities places children for adoption into Married couples’ homes. That’s a basic tenet in the Catholic religion, that marriage is between one man and one woman. That’s it in a nutshell. The ACLU has a need to get in the news to justify their existence. The ACLU is full of token and non religious types who spout their views as doctrine, while ignoring any other doctrine. I would hope that Catholic Charities is reconized for the fantastic work it has done for many years and that if the decision is finally one that is a twisted legal fallacy due to ACLU having tamtrums, that then Catholic Charities leaves the adoption placement facet of it’s helpful role in the world. Let the government take on the task of helping these children. I’d bet the Illinois government will come back begging Catholic Charlties for help. It’s fairly radical that those who can’t stop talking about accepting differences cannot accept differences. What a bad joke the ACLU has become.

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