Rather than provide adoption and foster care services to same-sex couples, Catholic Charities in Illinois is ending the service altogether. Missouri’s Catholic Church leaders do not believe the move will affect Missouri.
Tyler McClay, a lawyer and lobbyist for the Missouri Catholic Conference, says because of the intricate relationship between the church and the state on adoption and foster care situations, there shouldn’t be an influx of those needing services crossing state lines.
The Catholic bishops in Illinois dropped the lawsuit against the state after the Sangamon County Circuit Court upheld the law, which Tyler says is ironic since it was called Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. The court decision says the church would have to extend those services to same-sex couples, regardless of the church’s stance on gay marriage.
“While the state has forced the Catholic Church out of state-supported foster care and adoption services, the losers will be the children, foster care families and adoptive parents who will no longer have the option of Catholic, faith-based services,” the bishops said. They said they are “sad to lose the dedicated employees who have served our Catholic foster care and adoption services so faithfully for so many years.”
The church has been offering adoption and foster care services in Illinois for 50 years.
McClay says there have been no civil union bills filed in Missouri as of yet, so it’s not a big concern to the Catholic Church in Missouri. However, he says it is on the radar. He says the global concern is that religious liberty issues in Illinois and around the world will at some point prevent the church from offering adoption or foster care services anywhere.
One Illinois bishop says “despite the loss of foster care and adoption services, our Catholic Charities in the Diocese Springfield in Illinois will continue to address the basic human needs of the poor in central Illinois in other ways. 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.”