Requirement to consider gay couples for adoption forces Illinois Catholic Charities affiliates to close

posted at 9:27 pm on December 29, 2011 by Tina Korbe

After the Illinois state legislature passed a requirement that says adoption and foster-care agencies — to be eligible for state money — must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care or adoptive parents, the Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois decided to shut down most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened: Massachusetts and Washington D.C. both passed similar requirements — and many Catholic Charities affiliates closed down in those states, as well. The New York Times reports:

For the nation’s Catholic bishops, the Illinois requirement is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals.

“In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer who helped drive the church’s losing battle to retain its state contracts for foster care and adoption services. …

Critics of the church argue that no group has a constitutional right to a government contract, especially if it refuses to provide required services.

But Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel and associate general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, disagreed. “It’s true that the church doesn’t have a First Amendment right to have a government contract,” he said, “but it does have a First Amendment right not to be excluded from a contract based on its religious beliefs.

This is tough stuff. My instinct is to think that the Illinois requirement does constitute a violation of religious liberty — but I’m not sure. The free exercise of religion clause protects religiously motivated conduct as well as belief (e.g. proselytization, refusing work on one’s sabbath, even sacrificing animals at a worship service), so Catholic Charities is well within its rights to refuse to place children with gay couples and still operate. Because Catholic Charities can’t operate foster care services without a contract with the state, the denial of the contract on the basis of CC’s fidelity to the teaching of the Catholic Church seems like a clear violation of religious freedom. But the mere denial of funding — no matter how heavily dependent CC is on it for its operations — is surely not. Freedom and funding, after all, are not the same.

Either way, though, let’s not forget the broader picture: The decision of the Illinois legislature to initiate the requirement in the first place — knowing it would hamstring Catholic Charities, which provides essential services — demonstrates an appalling willingness to allow an adult agenda — the mainstream acceptance of gay behavior — to supersede children’s interests. The spokesman for the state’s child welfare agency has said he thinks the child welfare system Catholic Charities helped to build is strong enough to withstand CC’s departure. But it’s hard to believe the shuttering of so many CC affiliates won’t make the burden of finding a home for children in need even greater.

Then, too, research suggests the healthiest and most stable environment for a child is to live with a married couple. Of those born to cohabiting parents, the majority see their parents split up before they hit age 16 — and children living with a mother and her unmarried partner are more likely to have behavioral problems and lower academic performance. That Catholic Charities wanted to work to place children in that optimal living environment but now can’t is heartbreaking no matter what the reasoning for the new requirement.


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Both will have cookies and coffee in the narthex.

JohnAGJ on December 30, 2011 at 11:58 PM

How many times I’ve heard similar lines ending with “narthex”, years ago.

listens2glenn on December 31, 2011 at 6:17 AM

Ever heard of the “Lavender Mafia”? The scandal wasn’t in the abuse of minors by bad priests decades prior–that sort of thing happens all the time in public schools, and with higher frequency. The scandal was two-fold: first, the cover-up by the bishops, and second, the fact that the abuse was overwhelmingly homosexual.

spiritof61 on December 30, 2011

Excellent point! How many people even know what that is?
For those who don’t, read The Oxford Press and learn how homosexuals took over the Catholic seminaries 50 years ago.
BTW … Bernard Cardinal Law should be in prison – still.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 31, 2011 at 8:09 AM

What is the catholic church doing getting funding from the state? Isn’t freedom from taxes good enough for them? If they operate on their own dime, they should be clear to consider whoever they want for adoption.

HeIsSailing on December 31, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Requirement to consider gay couples for adoption forces Illinois Catholic Charities affiliates to close

A requirement to consider gay couples for adoption is not the same as a requirement to accept gay couples for adoption. That said the State is certainly wrong to place this requirement upon Catholic Charities.

Of course, Catholic Charities is also wrong by having their services contingent upon receiving State money.

Both sides have lost sight of their goal ensuring the children will suffer as a result.

Sad.

rukiddingme on December 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM

The state has an interest in promoting equal rights. If a private, religious organization then turns around and decides to cease organization because of that, so be it. That’s not the state’s fault, that’s the organization’s choice. Stop trying to demonize Illinois for instituting an equitable human rights policy re: adoption and foster care.

Vyce on December 30, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Hilarious, Vyce. The State has what interest in promoting equal rights ? Please tell us what that ” interest ” and which rights are being violated ? No one has a right to adopt a child. It is an earned privilege.

The State entered into a private contract with CC of Illinois. If religious bigots are trying to promote the same principle they claim is immoral by disagreeing with the gay lifestyle and it’s relevance to adoption then we may all feel free to call you hypocrites. I suggest you look at the USSC rulings surrounding the issues of contracts entered into by states with religious organizations, willingly and with clear knowledge and utilizing public money.

You seem to think that freedoms are subjective. They are NOT. This WHY there is an Establishment Clause AND an Free Exercise Clause aka association.

Stop confusing sexual behaviors with “rights” involving others. Sexual behaviors are NOT rights.

What people like you DON”T realize is that it may have been a MASSIVE legal liability for the CC of Illinois to allow gays to adopt particularly if say, for example, a gay couple who adopted were found to have abused the very children they pledged to nurture.

Promoting so called “rights” at the expense of the legitimate rights of others is hypocrisy filled and is antithetical to the Founders intentions.

“Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded,” said Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.

DevilsPrinciple on December 31, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Stop confusing sexual behaviors with “rights” involving others. Sexual behaviors are NOT rights.

What people like you DON”T realize is that it may have been a MASSIVE legal liability for the CC of Illinois to allow gays to adopt particularly if say, for example, a gay couple who adopted were found to have abused the very children they pledged to nurture.

So the state has a right to prohibit your right to engage in certain sexual practices or heterosexuals? Do only heterosexuals have rights to engage in any sexual behavior? Catholics believe that any sex outside of marriage is immoral. I wonder how many Catholics have broken that belief? Catholics also don’t believe in birth control. How many Catholics sitting in the pews ignore that belief? Finally, if anyone abuses a child adopted by Catholic Charities the law should certainly intervene. The state most certainly has a duty to protect children from abuse. Is there a special law that makes it more criminal for a gay couple to abuse a child than a straight couple? You have a double standard when it comes to heterosexuals and homosexuals.

SC.Charlie on January 1, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Stop confusing sexual behaviors with “rights” involving others. Sexual behaviors are NOT rights.

What people like you DON”T realize is that it may have been a MASSIVE legal liability for the CC of Illinois to allow gays to adopt particularly if say, for example, a gay couple who adopted were found to have abused the very children they pledged to nurture.

Promoting so called “rights” at the expense of the legitimate rights of others is hypocrisy filled and is antithetical to the Founders intentions.

So the state recognizes the rights of heterosexuals to engage in any sexual acts, if they are acts between consenting adults? And, gays don’t have the legal right to engage in sexual acts between consenting adults? Catholics believe that any sex outside of marriage is immoral. I wonder how many Catholics have broken that belief? My guess would be somewhere between 90% to 97.75% Catholics also don’t believe in birth control. How many Catholics sitting in the pews ignore that belief? My guess is the overwhelming majority. Finally, if anyone abuses a child adopted by Catholic Charities the law should certainly intervene. The state most certainly has a duty to protect children from abuse. Is there a special law that makes it more criminal for a gay couple to abuse a child than a straight couple? You have a double standard when it comes to heterosexuals and homosexuals.

SC.Charlie on January 1, 2012 at 8:41 AM

mainstreaming gross immorality is the only way to secure a prosperous and peaceful future for the nation.

tom daschle concerned on January 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

mainstreaming gross immorality is the only way to secure a prosperous and peaceful future for the nation. – tom daschle concerned on January 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

What are you talking about, Congress itself?

Being homosexual and having to pretend to be straight is grossly immoral. I thought the our government was formed for the people to be able have the right to pursue their happiness as long as it did not infringe upon the rights of others.

SC.Charlie on January 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

mainstreaming gross immorality is the only way to secure a prosperous and peaceful future for the nation. – tom daschle concerned on January 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Being homosexual and having to pretend to be straight is grossly immoral. I thought the our government was formed for the people to be able have the right to pursue their happiness as long as it did not infringe upon the rights of others.

SC.Charlie on January 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

SC.Charlie on January 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Being homosexual and having to pretend to be straight is grossly immoral. I thought the our government was formed for the people to be able have the right to pursue their happiness as long as it did not infringe upon the rights of others.

SC.Charlie on January 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Contraversial statement/opinion alert:

There’s no diplomatic, tactful way of saying “homosexuality is immoral.” In the closet or out.

But, “in the closet” means “out of public view.” And in my opinion, it’s the lesser of two evils.

“Pursuing happiness” as the founding fathers meant it, did not include “consequence-free immorality.”
You claim that being forced by others to “stay in the closet” is immoral, but I’m saying homosexuality is immoral.

listens2glenn on January 1, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Contraoversial

Gotta spell check better.

listens2glenn on January 1, 2012 at 8:54 PM

You claim that being forced by others to “stay in the closet” is immoral, but I’m saying homosexuality is immoral. – listens2glenn on January 1, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Well, I guess that I am hopelessly immoral in your eyes. I can not change my sexual orientation any more than you can yours. I can only wonder why God made me homosexual. I did not choose my sexuality. What should I do, commit my life to silence on the issue and live a chaste life? Don’t even you think that would be cruel?

SC.Charlie on January 2, 2012 at 7:48 AM

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