Judge Denies Catholic Charities’ Request

September 26, 2011

A judge has denied Catholic Charities' request to keep doing adoption and foster care placements for the state of Illinois.

Catholic Charities has worked with the state for decades, currently handling about 2000 foster care cases. Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt, who earlier had ruled Catholic Charities had no legal expectation to keep the state contracts, refused to reconsider that decision.

The religious organization said it won't place children with unmarried couples. The issue came to a head when Illinois legalized civil unions back in June. State officials said the group's stance is discriminatory.

Peter Breen, an attorney representing Catholic Charities in the case, said the judge's latest ruling paves the way for an appeal, which is likely to be filed soon, although he gave no timeline. Breen said the group will also ask for a stay, so that it can continue operations while the legal process plays out.

Illinois' Department of Children and Family Services is ready to begin transitioning cases elsewhere, but an attorney for Catholic Charities said it will ask the appeals court to put a hold on any changes.

The group currently oversees hundreds of foster care parents for the state. Diocese in Springfield, Belleville, Peoria and Joliet are part of the lawsuit.

Story source: AP