University YMCA Loses Funding From Catholic Church
By Sean Powers
The YMCA on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus says it has lost support from the Catholic Church over its connection to a group that supports same-sex marriage.
Back in May, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights endorsed same-sex marriage. Robert Gilligan of the Catholic Conference of Illinois said that was a move the caught the church by surprise.
“The Illinois Coalition is entitled to do that, but that doesn’t mean we have to support it in any way, shape, or form with financial contributions from the Catholic Church,” Gilligan said.
The U of I’s YMCA does a lot of outreach to immigrants, like providing a Spanish language help line. It also advocates for various causes in favor of immigration reform. The YMCA’s Mike Doyle said the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops told him that in order for the YMCA to get a $60,000 grant for that outreach, it must cut ties with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights because of its support for same-sex marriage.
“We work really closely with the coalition and they provide resources and help,” Doyle said. “So, it really would have undermined some of the work we’re trying to do here in town.”
Without the grant, Doyle said the YMCA is looking for alternative funding sources, but may have to cut back on its community outreach.