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Judge refuses to reconsider decision on Catholic Charities adoption, foster care issue

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

A judge has denied Catholic Charities' request to keep doing adoption and foster care placements for the State of Illinois.

Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt, who earlier had ruled Catholic Charities had no legal expectation to keep state contracts its had for decades, refused to reconsider that decision. 

The religious organization says it won't place children with unmarried couples. The issue came to a head when Illinois legalized civil unions back in June. State officials said the group's stance is discriminatory.

Peter Breen is an attorney representing Catholic Charities in the case and says the judge's latest ruling paves the way for an appeal, which is likely to be filed soon, although he gave no timeline.

Breen says the group will also ask for a stay, so that it can continue operations while the legal process plays out.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is preparing the transition of cases away from Catholic Charities.   The group currently oversees hundreds of foster care parents for the state. Diocese in Springfield, Belleville, Peoria and Joliet are part of the lawsuit.