Catholic Charities of Rockford will end
its state-funded foster care and adoption services on the day
Illinois' civil unions take effect, the Chicago Tribune
The charity services 11 counties and
its decision could displace the 350 foster children it serves and
leave 58 employees out of work.
Illinois' civil unions law takes effect
on Wednesday, but a mandatory one-day waiting period makes Thursday
the first day gay and lesbian couples may tie the knot. Governor
Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will attend an inaugural
event celebrating the unions of 30 gay couples.
Officials cited the law's silence on
adoption in announcing their decision.
“While we understand leaving this
work will be very painful for our client families, employees,
volunteers, donors and prayerful supporters, we can no longer
contract with the state of Illinois whose laws would force us to
participate in activity offensive to the moral teachings of the
church – teachings which compel us to do this work in the first
place,” said Frank Vonch, director of social services for the
Diocese of Rockford.
Whether state laws exempts religious
institutions from placing children with couples in a civil union
remains unclear. Gene Svebakken, president and CEO of Lutheran Child
and Family Services, told the paper that he's been advised by lawyers
that state laws already exempt religious agencies.
The law's start has also prompted
opponents to launch a
petition drive to constitutionally ban gay marriage in Illinois.