An Illinois judge has ruled the state
can deny Catholic Charities state funds to run its foster care and
The state decided after four decades
against renewing contracts with Catholic Charities in Joliet, Peoria,
Springfield and Belleville.
Catholic Charities policy turns away
openly gay parents.
The issue became heated in June when a
civil unions law that recognizes gay and lesbian couples approved
last December went into effect. Noting the teachings of the Catholic
Church, which defines marriage as a heterosexual union, Catholic
Charities told the state that it could not accommodate prospective
foster parents in a civil union.
The foster care and adoption agency
argued it was exempt from the law under its religious protections
The state, however, argued that the
law's religious exemptions only apply to clergy who refuse to
officiate at civil unions.
Sangamon County Circuit Judge John
Schmidt ruled against Catholic Charities on Thursday.
“No citizen has a recognized legal
right to a contract with the government,” he wrote.
But Schmidt's ruling narrowly focused
on whether the state violated the property rights of Catholic
Charities when it refused to sign new contracts and avoided the
religious freedom issue.
Catholic Charities has about 2,200
children in its care. The group said it would likely file an appeal.