Catholic group threatens to end adoption services in Ill.

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Catholic Charities, which operates one of the largest adoption agencies in Illinois, is threatening to halt services in the state rather than comply with state law requiring the organization to place children with gay couples.

Catholic Charities has more than 3,000 children in its foster care and adoption agencies, which represents about 20 percent of all such services in the state, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The state pays the organization about $30 million a year for these services.

Catholic Charities is backing legislation that would allow it to refer same-sex couples to other adoption agencies without risking a lawsuit or loss of state money. But so far the measure has been bottled up in a house committee.

“There’s a real possibility that we will be forced out of foster care and adoption,” said Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois.

Equality activists object to the assertion that Catholic groups might be “forced” out. They said Catholic adoption programs can choose to include everyone or they can choose to cut ties with state government.

“If they do not want to let gay couples adopt or be foster parents, fine. Let them do it on their own dime and not on millions of dollars of Illinois taxpayers,” said Rick Garcia, who helped pass the law establishing civil unions in Illinois.

– L.W.

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