Catholic dioceses in Illinois have decided to stop providing adoption and foster care services rather than continue a protracted legal battle against state regulations requiring child-welfare agencies to work with same-sex and unmarried couples, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Joliet, Springfield, and Belleville dioceses announced Monday that they had dropped their suit against the state over its termination of a longstanding contract with Catholic Charities for foster care and adoption placements. Illinois officials said the charities were in violation of a state law that took effect this year giving partners in civil unions the same rights as married couples.
The faith groups will transfer staff and more than 1,000 foster children in their care to secular agencies in their areas.
Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki said the church charities decided to direct their energies into serving the needy rather than waging a long legal fight. Catholic Charities "will be able to focus on being more Catholic and more charitable, while less dependent on government funding and less encumbered by intrusive state policies," he said.