SPRINGFIELD --- A judge in Springfield today ordered that Catholic Charities can keep serving foster children despite the state’s decision to eliminate their contract.
The order is temporary and a hearing will take place in August on the issue.
Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt issued the ruling after both sides offered lengthy arguments in court this afternoon. Schmidt said that his order freezes the state’s contract with Catholic Charities as it was before the state decided to cut it off earlier this month [this is very good news].
Three Catholic Charities groups sought the injunction to continue serving families and abiding by Catholic principles that prohibit placing children with unmarried cohabiting couples.
"We're not sure what the state is intending to do or how it's intending to do it," said Peter Breen, an attorney with the Thomas More Society representing Catholic Charities. "It's a surprise. But it's also very disturbing. The impact on the [nearly 2,000] children in Catholic Charities care will be catastrophic."
In letters sent last week to Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria, Joliet and Springfield and Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the state could not accept their signed contracts for the 2012 fiscal year. Each letter said funding was declined because "your agency has made it clear that it does not intend to comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act," which the state says requires prospective parents in civil unions to be treated the same as married couples.
"That law applies to foster care and adoption services," each letter stated. "Thus, there is no meeting of the minds as to the (fiscal year 2012) Foster Care and Adoption Contracts."
12 July 2011
BREAKING NEWS: Judge stops State from dropping Catholic Catholics
From The Chicago Tribune, with my emphases and comments: