Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Catholic Social Services in Illinois Rebrands Itself as Christian Social Services

The Roman Catholic Church likes to talk about how state laws that prevent them from discriminating against the general public when they provide state-funded and regulated services such as foster care and adoption and that because of issues like marriage equality and civil unions they are being forced to close their doors. After all, they only recognize certain types of families and only place children with married heterosexual couples -- except when they place them with single parents. But being open to placing children with hypothetical gay and/or lesbian couples who qualify for home studies offends their beliefs.

This happened in Illinois, which recently passed a civil union law that provides civilly unionized gay and lesbian families the same rights, responsibilities, and protections of married heteroseuxal families. Which means that state-funded and regulated services such as foster care and adoption licensing cannot discriminate against eligible gay and lesbian couples. As a result, Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois announced that it was closing and no longer providing foster care and adoption services... as Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois. Effective tomorrow, they will officially re-brand themselves at Christian Social Services of Illinois:
“Although we are sad to lose our Catholic identity, we are excited to be able to broaden our base of support to other Christian traditions," said Gary Huelsmann, the agency’s executive director.

“The Catholic diocese has carried a heavy financial burden to support the work of the agency for decades, and for that we are grateful,” he added. “The last two months have been extraordinary for the agency. We have a new identity as well as expanded offices and a phenomenal staff. We hope that the agency will keep its Catholic support but also gain substantial support from other churches that currently are not connected to any other social service agencies.”
In other words, nothing has changed except that the Diocese of Belleville is no longer involved with the agency and it has a new name.

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