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Catholic Charities Drops Lawsuit, Ends Foster Care and Adoption Services

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 15, 2011 8:00PM

2011_11_15_catholic_charities.jpg Catholic Charities is tapping out in its ongoing dispute with the State of Illinois over whether it can continue providing foster care and adoption services. The Thomas More Society, which has represented Catholic Charities, filed a motion to dismiss their lawsuit with the State.

The society said in a statement:

"[T]he actions of the State have prevented the Charities from being able to obtain relief from the Illinois court system. Because the State of Illinois has put an expedited process in place to transition to other agencies the foster children under the Charities' care, any relief ordered by the Appellate Court would come too late to save the Charities' foster care ministry. Both the Circuit and Appellate Courts denied the Charities' emergency motions to prevent the transition."

Catholic Charities filed the lawsuit in June contending that their refusal to provide adoption and foster care services to unmarried and same-sex couples, which the State says is a violation of the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Law, was a violation of their religious freedoms. Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt ruled in favor of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in August, paving the way for DCFS to sever a 90-year relationship with Catholic Charities.

Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki spun the dropping of the lawsuit as a good thing:

"The silver lining of this decision is that our Catholic Charities going forward will be able to focus on being more Catholic and more charitable, while less dependent on government funding and less encumbered by intrusive state policies," Paprocki said.

Civil Rights Agenda executive director Anthony Martinez said of the decision:

“I am encouraged to hear that Catholic Charities has realized they cannot win this lawsuit.” He said the case was “all about prioritizing religion over what is best for the children in their care,” adding, “Dropping this suit is a step in the right direction for what is best for all the citizens of this great state.”