Trump in It to Win It His Own Way
Scaremongers
Don't Let America's Biggest Money Managers Play Politics with Your Pension
As Election Approaches, Policy and Party as Important as Personalities
There Is No 'International Law'
Stop the Migrant Invasion
Injustice for All: The Reliance on Cohen’s Testimony Reveals a Desperate Prosecution
Biden Decries a 'Failed Approach to Marijuana' but Sticks With It
Why Is the White House Hiding the Nationalities of Terror Suspects at the...
House Republicans Build Momentum for Election Integrity
The Left Won't Know What Hit Them
Biden Fails to Fire FDIC Chairman for Ten Year History of Overseeing Abuse
More Immigration, More Inflation, More Bankruptcies
Here's When Merrick Garland Will Testify Before the House Judiciary Committee
'Race Is Still Open,' Top Pollster Says
OPINION

Ill. can force gay adoptions, judge rules

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP)--In what could be another example of a same-sex law trumping religious freedom, an Illinois judge has ruled the state can end its adoption and foster care relationship with Catholic Charities, which refuses to place children with gay couples.
Advertisement

At issue is a 40-year relationship between Illinois and Catholic Charities that is in jeopardy because the state -- in light of Illinois' new same-sex civil unions law -- says agencies with state contracts must be willing to place children in gay households. Catholic Charities said it would not follow any such state orders and it subsequently sued the state, saying the civil unions law provided a religious exemption that would protect its work.

Judge John Schmidt, though, said it did not matter what the civil unions law said because a more basic issue was at play: Is the state required to contract with Catholic Charities? The answer, he said, is no.

"Plaintiffs are not required by the state to perform these useful and beneficial services," Schmidt wrote in a three-page ruling in the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Springfield. "... No citizen has a recognized legal right to a contract with the government."

Nearly 2,000 children in foster care are under the care of Catholic Charities in the three dioceses in question -- Springfield, Peoria and Joliet.

The Thomas More Society, which is helping represent the dioceses, indicated an appeal is possible.

Advertisement

"The ruling does not address Catholic Charities' contention that the State of Illinois cannot refuse to contract with someone based on that person's exercise of religion," the legal organization said in a statement. "Thomas More Society attorneys are reviewing the ruling and considering next actions with the Charities."

The new law is named, ironically, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. It grants same-sex couples the state legal benefits of marriage, except the name itself.

The confrontation could have been avoided had language explicitly exempting adoption and foster care agencies made it into the civil unions law. But it was defeated on the legislative floor. Catholic Charities, though, maintains it remains exempt from gay placements because language in the bill says that nothing in the law "shall interfere or regulate the religious practice of any religious body."

The Catholic agencies have had a practice of referring same-sex couples to agencies that place children in homosexual homes. Catholic Charities says they will maintain that policy under the new law.

The lawsuit says it is the agencies' "established religious practice ... not to entertain or process applicants for adoption or foster care placements in homes of unmarried cohabiting heterosexual couples or same sex couples." Those types of applications "already are adequately processed by other social service agencies," the suit said.

Advertisement

For years, traditionalists have warned the legalization of civil unions and "gay marriage" would have a widespread negative impact on religious liberty, affecting not only some adoption agencies but also the tax-exempt status of religious organizations, the religious liberty of private businesses and curriculum in elementary schools.

Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Recommended

Trending on Townhall Videos