An attorney representing Catholic Charities in four Illinois church dioceses said Monday that he will appeal a judge's ruling against his client in a battle forged after the state's Department of Children and Family Services said they would no longer contract with the agencies if they were to deny foster care and adoption contracts to same-sex couples in civil unions.
According to an Associated Press report, attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society will ask for a stay of Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt's Aug. 18 ruling against Catholic Charities in the ongoing legal battle. Breen reportedly hopes Schmidt will reconsider his finding that the agencies do not have a legal right to contract with the state, and therefore lack a property interest in the contracts.
Judge Schmidt's decision was received with great disappointment from Catholic leaders throughout the state. Bishop Daniel Jenky of the church's Peoria archdiocese said that "the political establishment in the state of Illinois are now basically at war with the Catholic community and seem to be destroying their institutions." Another bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of the Springfield diocese, said the decision marked "a sad day for the children of Illinois."
LGBT advocates, on the other hand, were pleased by the decision. Veteran gay activist Rick Garcia described it as "a victory not only for fairness and decency but also [one that] sends the message that discrimination is unacceptable even if done in the name of religion" in a statement.
Catholic Charities originally sued the state of Illinois in June over the loss of their $30 million annual contract placing foster and adoptive children in homes on behalf of the state. The state argues that Catholic Charities' practice of denying those placements to unmarried couples violates the state's civil union law and discrimination laws.