SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – Illinois need not renew its foster care and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities, which refuses to comply with state anti-discrimination laws, a Sangamon County judge ruled. Catholic dioceses, which refuse to work with same-sex couples, sued the state for attempting to terminate it contracts.
Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt ruled that no citizen has a legal right to contract with the government.
Catholic Dioceses in Joliet, Peoria, Springfield and Belleville sued after the state attempted to terminate their foster care contracts because of the groups’ unwillingness to serve same-sex couples due to religious reasons.
The dioceses’ policy has been to refer same-sex couples to other foster care agencies.
That policy came under fire after Illinois passed a civil unions law this year, which gave same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, including the right to be foster parents.
The dioceses claimed they had a reasonable expectation that their contracts would not end without sufficient warning or a public hearing, given the decades they have existed and the infrastructure built around them.
But Schmidt ruled that Catholic Charities’ history does not entitle them to automatic renewal of the contracts. Those contracts can be transferred to other social services agencies.