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Catholic Charities to appeal foster care decision
News update posted Aug. 30, 2011
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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Four catholic charities have announced that they will appeal a decision by a circuit court judge to allow the state to deny them foster care contracts.

Attorneys for charities in Peoria, Belleville, Springfield and Joliet have filed notice that they will appeal the ruling that upheld the state's decision to end its 40-year relationship with the charities.

A circuit court Judge ruled Aug. 18 that the charities were not entitled to the $30 million contracts with the state, after the charities refused to place children with civil union partners and unmarried people.

The case is likely headed to Appellate Court.

The appeal was expected, said Ed Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois ( ACLU ) , which intervened in the case on behalf of a lesbian couple and children who are wards of the state.

The Aug. 17 trial focused on a debate over property rights to contracts, avoiding disputes from both sides about discrimination.

Yohnka said it is possible the Appellate Court will allow for a discussion about issues of discrimination. Charities have claimed they are exempt from parts of civil union law as religious organizations. The ACLU argued that LGBT children in foster care have a right to grow up understanding that they can be parents.

"We would anticipate the [ circuit court ] judge's decision would be upheld," said Yohnka.

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