Illinois Catholic Charities has announced it will appeal a decision on gay adoptions, the AP reported.

After Illinois approved a civil unions law that recognizes gay and lesbian couples, Catholic Charities in Joliet, Peoria, Springfield and Belleville told the state that it could not accommodate prospective fosters parents in a civil union. The group maintains that the teachings of the Catholic Church define marriage as a heterosexual union.

Skipping over whether Catholic Charities is exempt from the law under its religious protections clause, Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt ruled in favor of the state on August 18. Schmidt's ruling narrowly focused on whether the state violated the property rights of Catholic Charities when it refused to sign new contracts.

“No citizen has a recognized legal right to a contract with the government,” he wrote.

Peter Breen, an attorney for the non-profit agency, said he will ask for a stay of Schmidt's ruling, and added that he hopes the judge will address “the issue of religious freedom.”

The state has argued that the law's religious exemptions only apply to clergy who refuse to officiate at civil unions.

Catholic Charities has about 2,200 children in its care.