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Catholic Adoption Agencies Sue Illinois Regarding Gay Adoption

By Nottage and Ward on July 12, 2011

NPR reports that controversy has erupted in Illinois regarding whether faith-based groups should be required to alter their practices and assist gay couples seeking to adopt. The new civil union law in Illinois has put the state and many faith-based organizations at odds with one another.

In particular, Catholic Charities agencies, located in five dioceses in Illinois, had received state funding to offer adoption and foster care services, and would only place children with straight single individuals living alone or straight married couples. Once the new law went into effect, one agency stopped its adoption services, concerned it would be required to allow same-sex couples to adopt or have discrimination lawsuits filed against them. Three other agencies put prospective parent licensing on hold and sued the state. Previously, the agencies had referred couples who were unmarried to other agencies, without regard to their sexual orientation.

An executive director for one of the diocese has argued that adoption is a core part of the mission of the Catholic Church. However, legal experts believe the court will probably reject such reasoning. In Boston and Washington, D.C., Catholic Charities ceased publicly-funded adoption and foster care services after gay marriage was legalized. Many believe if the agency successfully sues Illinois, legal fights may erupt elsewhere. The agencies suing the state have said they wish to continue to provide children with homes, but only under their set guidelines. Now, a judge will make the decision. The state is expected to respond to the lawsuit by mid-July.

If you are thinking about entering into a civil union in Illinois, there are certain legal ramifications you must consider. The Illinois civil union lawyers at Nottage and Ward can explain the impact of the new civil union law and help you understand the rights granted to civil union partners. To learn more, call 312-332-2915 to speak with one of our attorneys today. Read more about same-sex adoption here.

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