Remember how the Catholic Charities of Rockford (Illinois) were so freaked out by the possibility that children might have to be placed in the homes of gay couples because of the new civil unions law that they shut down their state-funded adoption services altogether?
Catholic Charities of Peoria and Joliet have informed the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services that they will no longer license families who applied to become foster care or adoptive parents because the state’s civil unions law went into effect Tuesday.
“It is the religious practice of Catholic Charities not to place children with unmarried cohabiting couples, whether same sex or opposite sex,” wrote Glenn Van Cura, executive director of Catholic Charities of Joliet, in a letter to DCFS sent this week.
Once again, the Catholic Church is telling the world that they would rather see kids without any adoptive parents at all than put them in the home of a loving gay couple.
Remember: The taxpayers of Illinois are giving these Catholic organizations money to carry out these services. They have absolutely no right to discriminate against the GLBT community.
As Benjamin Wolf and John Knight of the ACLU of Illinois wrote in an excellent editorial this week:
These agencies elected to accept state money to carry out a government function — the licensing of foster and adoptive parents. Having chosen to voluntarily act in the state’s capacity, these agencies are expected to perform using the same standards as any other agency. Illinois law already required placements of children in state custody to be based on child welfare considerations, as opposed to the views of the agencies. Thus, denying foster or adoptive parents licenses based on their sexual orientation (or race and religion), already is prohibited by law.
Catholic Charities is free to practice in accordance with its religious teachings. But if it chooses to accept tax dollars to perform the state’s job of finding families for children in state custody, it may not use religious criteria — as opposed to child welfare criteria — in choosing families for them.
Like every child, these 15,000 children deserve a safe, loving home where they are nurtured. That hope is undercut when qualified available families are needlessly excluded from consideration. Imagine a child who has been the victim of abuse or neglect being denied the opportunity to live with a loving aunt or uncle simply because the relative is lesbian or gay. That is not in the best interests of the child.
We’ll just add all this to the list of ways the Catholic Church has screwed children.