Three agencies affiliated with Catholic Charities of Illinois filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state. The Springfield, Peoria and Joliet dioceses are all included in the suit. It seeks to clarify each agency’s role under the newly enacted civil unions law.
Catholic Charities is asking the court to grant an emergency injunction so they can continue handing out foster care licenses to only married couples or single people, and refer couples in a civil union to other agencies. The groups call the lawsuit a “pro-active” approach, to preempt future litigation.
Catholic Charities contends it’s not an issue of gay or straight.
Peter Breen is a lawyer with the Thomas More Society, which is suing on Catholic Charities’ behalf.
“Why would an unmarried couple, whether heterosexual or homosexual, want to work with Catholic Charities when the Catholic church’s teaching on their relationship is opposed to their own view on their relationship?” Breen says.
But gay rights advocates point to the state money Catholic Charities receives to carry out foster care placements.
“If they want to continue with adoption and foster care placements using their own standards, then they can do that. They just can’t ask the state to fund those practices.” Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, says.
Agencies in Rockford, Joliet and Peoria have already suspended their services.