The Illinois legislative session is drawing to a close this week, and Catholic Charities is fervently pushing for legislation that would “protect” the organization from having to offer adoption services to same-sex couples once the civil unions law takes effect June 1. After such a provision failed last month, it’s extremely unlikely another will see headway this week. At a press conference today, Trish Fox of Catholic Charities of Peoria tried to spin this intention to discriminate as just being consistent with past practices:
The Catholic Church is not going to be OK with Catholic Charities processing applications from anyone in a civil union and all we’re asking is that we can continue what we’ve always done, which is refer cohabitating couples, heterosexual or homosexual, to another agency.
The state’s attorney general will likely issue an opinion before couples begin applying for civil unions about how the law will impact adoption and foster care services. Most suspect that any agency that accepts public funding will be required to provide services to couples in civil unions.
Catholic Charities’ threat in Illinois is not new. In fact, Catholic Charities regularly responds to advances in LGBT equality by self-victimizing — claiming that it’s getting “pushed out” by policies that don’t respect its freedom of religion. The clear and honest truth is that Catholic Charities voluntarily ends its charitable services when required to provide them to gays and lesbians.
Most recently, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned the Department of Housing and Urban Development for prohibiting discrimination in its programs. Just this week, the Supreme Court refused to hear a suit against San Francisco for the city’s condemnation of Catholic social services’ discrimination against same-sex couples. Catholic Charities of Washington, DC shut down their adoption program after the District legalized same-sex marriage last year. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, ME, also abandoned funding of a homeless shelter because the shelter opposed efforts to ban same-sex marriage there.
Perhaps Catholic Charities should change its name to Catholic Charities For Straights Only.