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Illinois Court Rules in Favor of Catholic Charities

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist A judge in Springfield, Illinois has granted an injunction to three Catholic Charities groups that will enable them to continue serving the 2,000 foster children under their care after the state refused to renew their contracts because of their religious objections to allowing unmarried cohabiting couples to adopt. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt issued the ruling after hearing lengthy arguments from both sides yesterday. His ruling freezes the state's contract with Catholic Charities as it was before the state decided to cut it off earlier this month. Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria, Joliet and Springfield and Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois all received a letter last week from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services saying the state could not accept their signed contracts for the 2012 fiscal year. The reason given was because Catholic Charities "made it clear that it does not intend to comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act," which the state says requires prospective parents in civil unions to be treated the same as married couples. "That law applies to foster care and adoption services," each letter stated. "Thus, there is no meeting of the minds as to the (fiscal year 2012) Foster Care and Adoption Contracts." During the hearing, Judge Schmidt observed that the termination letter had the "appearance of gamesmanship" and granted Catholic Charities a preliminary injunction which will allow them to continue serving the nearly 2,000 children currently in their care. "This is a great win for the 2,000 children under the care of Catholic Charities, protecting these kids from the grave disruption that the state's reckless decision to terminate would have caused," said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel of the Thomas More Society which is representing Catholic Charities. "We will continue this fight until all young people in need now and in the future are guaranteed their right to receive the high-quality foster and adoption care that the Catholic Church has provided for over a century to Illinois children." The next hearing is scheduled for August 17 at 9 AM, where the judge will decide on the merits of the case. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®