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Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois Joins Catholic Charities Lawsuit to Continue to Serve Children’s Best Interests

Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois Joins Catholic Charities Lawsuit to Continue to Serve Children’s Best Interests

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Published by Tom Ciesielka
Catholic Social Services (CSS) of Southern Illinois, affiliated with the Diocese of Belleville, took legal action in Springfield, IL, joining Catholic Charities for the Dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet in moving to be added to their lawsuit, filed in June, seeking injunctive relief against efforts by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) to halt the Catholic Charities social service agencies from any further participation in Illinois’ programs for foster care and adoption.
Catholic Social Services (CSS) of Southern Illinois, affiliated with the Diocese of Belleville, took legal action in Springfield, IL, joining Catholic Charities for the Dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet in moving to be added to their lawsuit, filed in June, seeking injunctive relief against efforts by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) to halt the Catholic Charities social service agencies from any further participation in Illinois’ programs for foster care and adoption.

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Published by: Tom Ciesielka on Jul 26, 2011
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05/12/2014

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1 of 49 Case No. 2011 MR 254
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUITSANGAMON COUNTY, ILLINOISCATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE DIOCESE )OF SPRINGFIELD-IN-ILLINOIS, an Illinois )non-profit corporation, CATHOLIC CHARI- )TIES OF THE DIOCESE OF PEORIA, an )Illinois non-profit corporation, CATHOLIC )CHARITIES OF THE DIOCESE OF JOLIET, )INC., an Illinois non-profit corporation, and )CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES OF )SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, DIOCESE OF ) Case No. 2011 MR 254BELLEVILLE, an Illinois non-profit )corporation, )Plaintiffs, ) Hon. John Schmidt) Presiding Judgevs. ))STATE OF ILLINOIS, LISA MADIGAN, in )her official capacity as the Attorney General )of the State of Illinois, ERWIN McEWEN, )in his official capacity as Director of the )Department of Children & Family Services, )State of Illinois, the DEPARTMENT OF )CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES, State of )Illinois, ROCCO J. CLAPPS in his official )capacity as Director of the Department of )Human Rights, State of Illinois, and the )DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS, )State of Illinois, ))Defendants. )SECOND AMENDED AND SUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINTFOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT, PRELIMINARY ANDPERMANENT INJUNCTIONS, AND OTHER RELIEF
Plaintiffs, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois, an Illinois non-profit corporation, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria, an Illinois non-profit corporation,and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet, Inc., an Illinois non-profit corporation, andCatholic Social Services of Southern Illinois, Diocese of Belleville, an Illinois non-profit
 
2 of 49 Case No. 2011 MR 254corporation (the latter alone hereinafter referred to as “CSSSI Belleville”), all of which arehereinafter collectively referred to as “Catholic Charities” or “plaintiffs,” by their undersignedattorneys, hereby complain of the defendants, the State of Illinois, Lisa Madigan, in her officialcapacity as the Attorney General of the State of Illinois, Erwin McEwen, in his official capacityas Director of the Department of Children & Family Services of the State of Illinois, theDepartment of Children & Family Services, State of Illinois, Rocco J. Clapps, in his officialcapacity as Director of the Department of Human Rights, State of Illinois, and the Department of Human Rights, State of Illinois, as follows:
Nature of the Case
1.
 
Plaintiffs, Catholic Charities social service agencies for four Roman CatholicDioceses in the State of Illinois which have provided extensive adoption and foster familyservices in Illinois for decades, bring this lawsuit in a pro-active effort to prevent the lawlessinfliction of irreparable harm on plaintiffs as well as on many thousands of vulnerable and needychildren, families, and adults across the State of Illinois, and to avert the defendants’ needlessand arbitrary collapse of a critical network of social service agencies at a time when a budgetarycrisis already has stretched vital social services resources to the breaking point. In order to avertthis tragic crisis and prevent harmful and potentially cruel disruption, discontinuity, anddestabilization in the lives of so many of Illinois’ needy young people, families, and others,plaintiffs are asking this Court to resolve several actual controversies, each of which turns on aclear cut legal issue, that have arisen between them and the State of Illinois, the Attorney Generalof the State of Illinois, the Director of the Department of Children & Family Services of the Stateof Illinois (“DCFS”), DCFS itself, the Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights(“IDHR”), and IDHR itself. The instant controversies pose pure questions of law.
 
3 of 49 Case No. 2011 MR 254
Actual Controversy #1 – Plaintiffs Are Not Places Of Public Accommodation
2. The initial question of law posed herein by plaintiffs is whether there is anunavoidable conflict between, on the one hand, (i) plaintiffs’ conscientious fulfillment of thehistoric, apostolic, and ministerial role of the Roman Catholic Church in providingcompassionate, competent, and professional social services – more specifically, adoption andfoster care – by means and methods that are faithful to the integral and essential tenets of theRoman Catholic religious faith, and on the other hand, (ii) the defendant Attorney General’senforcement duties and responsibilities, as well as the enforcement duties and responsibilities of the Director of IDHR and IDHR itself, with respect to the provisions of the Illinois HumanRights Act (
e.g.
, 775 ILCS 5/101(A)(12)), which proscribe discrimination
 
on the basis of,
inter alia
, sexual orientation and/or marital status by “place[s] of public accommodation” within theState of Illinois. Plaintiffs are asking for entry of a declaratory judgment in this lawsuit to theeffect that the “place of public accommodation” provisions of the Human Rights Act do notapply to them because they are “sectarian” and religious and, therefore, they are excluded fromthe scope of the Illinois Human Rights Act, which covers only those “adoption agencies” whichare “non-sectarian.” Plaintiffs provide vital social services, including adoption and foster care,as part of their religious ministry, rooted in the Holy Scriptures, and carried on in relationship tothe Roman Catholic Church and under the spiritual governance and practical oversight of eachDiocesan Bishop. Thus plaintiffs’ social ministry is part of plaintiffs’ religious practice –inspired, sustained, and bound by religious principles. As a result, plaintiffs plainly do not andcannot qualify as “non-sectarian adoption agenc[ies],” within the meaning of the Illinois HumanRights Act.3. Even assuming,
arguendo
,
 
that these explicit provisions restricting the coverage

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