Judge: Ill. Must Refer Orphans to Catholic Agency

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A county judge has ruled the state of Illinois must refer foster care cases to the group Catholic Charities.

Monday's ruling by Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt comes after the non-profit group won a preliminary injunction July 13 allowing them to continue their foster care services.

The agency, which does not place children with gay or unmarried couples, said the state's new gay civil unions law does not require them to place children with unmarried couples.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services claimed the policy was discriminatory, ignored the injunction, and continued to refuse to send any foster cases to the agency.

"Suddenly, they stopped," said Tom Brejcha, an attorney representing Catholic Charities. "They did the opposite of what the order directed."

In response, Catholic Charities requested an emergency hearing, prompting the state to reverse it position and continue referring cases to the non-profit group while the case is pending.

Meanwhile, Schmidt will make a final decision in August on whether the charity will be allowed to continue it foster services.

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