In Issue of Adoption, Catholic Charities Should Adhere to Basic Fairness

The Family Research Council is upset over a recent development in Illinois regarding a Catholic charity:

The Roman Catholic diocese in Rockford has announced that it will close its doors on the church's adoption program before subjecting children to placement in homosexual homes. Like it did in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., the Catholic Church refused to violate its convictions. Unfortunately, it's only a matter of time before other dioceses follow suit. For the church, this is an act of self-defense. Without a religious exemption, the law makes programs like this one vulnerable to lawsuits or state budget cuts. Much to the frustration of the bill's own sponsor, the state refused to carve out special protections for the religious organizations like this one.

Horror stories like this are common in religious right propaganda -- i.e. the gay agenda is causing discrimination against Christians. One of the talking points from the National Organization for Marriage claims that marriage equality will cause Catholic Charities to close, thus depriving children a chance to be placed in a good home.

Of course the real story is a bit more complicated.

When FRC and NOM paints this as an issue of discrimination against Christians, they omit one crucial detail -- the Catholic Church is receiving taxpayer funds for its adoption programs. When it canceled the adoption program, the Roman Catholic diocese in Rockford said goodbye to $7.5 million dollars in state contracts. In fact, Catholic Charities in Illinois receive $30 million in taxpayer money for its adoption program.

So this isn't a question of the supposed gay agenda, but rather an entity (the Catholic Church) using taxpayer money but not wanting to follow the laws which come attached to that money.

And in this case, asking for a religious exemption just won't cut it. While I understand wanting to adhere to one's faith, this is an issue in which the welfare of the child must come first. Studies have shown that children do not suffer from a same-sex household. Other than religious teaching, there is no justifiable reason for the church to deny gay couples to adopt children.

So in essence,  Catholic Charities are telling Illinois gay residents, "We think that your households aren't good enough to raise children and yes we will take an obscenely large amount of your money to adhere to this belief." 

That's neither right nor fair. It's not right nor fair to the child -- who is denied a chance at a good home simply because of religious doctrine. And it's certainly not right or fair to the gay couples -- who are hardworking taxpayers and should be treated with the dignity and respect which comes with that title.