Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Illinois Catholic Charities Sue To Maintain Adoption and Foster Care Policies That Exclude Same-Sex Couples

Three Illinois Catholic dioceses-- those of Springfield, Peoria and Joliet-- today filed a lawsuit in state court in Illinois seeking a declaratory judgement that they are acting within the law in offering adoption and foster care services only to married couples and to non-cohabiting single individuals and in refusing to place children with couples in same-sex civil unions. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief.  According to a press release from the Thomas More Society, the lawsuit was filed after the state Attorney General's office had issued a letter seeking information to determine whether Catholic Charities was in violation of the state's Human Rights Law by discriminating on the basis of religion, marital status or sexual orientation in screening potential foster or adoptive parents.

The complaint (full text) in Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois v. State of Illinois, (Cir. Ct. Sangamon Co., filed 6/7/2011), claims that the adoption agencies are not subject to the public accommodation provisions of the Illinois Human Rights Act or, if they are, that it would violate the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act to apply the provisions to them. It also contends that Illinois new Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act does not require them to change their practices because the Act protects "the religious practices of any religious body." Previously, three Illinois dioceses, including two of the plaintiffs in this litigation, had announced they were ending their adoption and foster care placements because of the potential effects of the new Civil Unions law. (See prior posting.)