civil unions

/ Susan Schultz

Same-sex couples in Illinois will be lining up to receive marriage licenses Monday after marriage between couples who are the same gender officially became legal across the state Sunday.  

The marriage-equality bill that passed in 2013 went into effect June 1, although a judge’s ruling prompted a handful of counties to issue marriage licenses earlier than that.

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Smoking opponents are back to the drawing board in St. Charles County

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Catholic Charities says it's withdrawing from a legal battle over Illinois' civil unions law and no longer is providing state-funded services.

The move ends the group's long history in Illinois of providing foster care and adoptions.

Diocese officials in Joliet, Springfield and Belleville say Monday's decision was reached with reluctance. The Catholic Diocese of Peoria withdrew last month.

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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. 

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Catholic Charities is delaying its plan to ask a judge to reconsider or stay his ruling that Illinois officials may cut off the nonprofit's state contracts for adoptions and foster care placements.

A hearing had been scheduled Friday in Springfield on Catholic Charities' quest to have a Sangamon County judge rethink or hold off enforcing his recent ruling that favored the state.

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An attorney for Catholic Charities says the not-for-profit agency will appeal a judge's ruling that the state of Illinois can stop working with the group on adoptions and foster-care placements.

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A central Illinois judge has ruled that Catholic Charities does not have a right to state contracts for adoptions and foster care placements and Illinois officials may cut them off.

The state Department of Children and Family Services ended $30 million in contracts with Catholic Charities in July because the not-for-profit won't work with unmarried couples in placing children in adoptive and foster homes. Illinois authorities say that violates the state's civil union law.

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Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois is asking to join a lawsuit against the state over foster placements to gay couples.

The organization is affiliated with the Belleville diocese.

The Department of Children and Family Services ended its foster-care and adoption services with Catholic Charities July 1 because it says the group discriminates by not allowing gay couples to take kids.

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A judge has confirmed that Illinois must temporarily continue referring foster children to Catholic Charities, despite the group's policy on gay couples.

The Department of Children and Family Services had taken the position it could maintain current cases but did not have to send new children to the not-for-profit group. Both sides agreed Monday that new cases will be referred.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is defending the state's new civil unions law in a dispute over adoptions with Catholic Charities.

State officials say they won't renew foster care and adoption contracts with the group that has received state money for placing children.

(St. Louis Science Center)

Staff cuts possible at St. Louis Science Center

Staff cuts are possible at one of St. Louis' most popular attractions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a 10-member commission that oversees the St. Louis Science Center could vote as early as August on a restructuring plan. That is according to Ted Hellman, chairman of the commission.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A Catholic organization that licenses foster and adoptive parents has sued the state of Illinois over a new law that would require it to place children with gay or unmarried couples.

Catholic Charities claims in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that it's exempt from provisions of a state law that lets gay and straight couples form civil unions that give them many of the same rights as traditional marriage.

Flickr/SDNG photo by OC Chad Carlson

Second Breach on Missouri River Reported

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported the first breach on the levee near the Missouri-Iowa border yesterday. The second breach, which is about 10 feet wide, was reported this morning.

The corps says the Iowa National Guard has been dropping thousands of pounds of large sandbags to help fill the breaches, but the damaged areas are expected to fully breach as water levels rise.

Good morning! Here are some headlines to start your week:

  • Missouri is bracing for a winter storm that could dump as much as a foot of snow on the ground before it's over. Doug Tilly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service says the brunt of the storm is going to be Tuesday into Tuesday night and much of Missouri and Illinois are going to get some part of the storm.

We would strongly suggest not planning to get out of your home for a couple days after this storm." - Doug Tilly, National Weather Service meteorologist

The weather service says roads will become snow covered and travel will be difficult to extremely dangerous on Tuesday. Forecasters say the storm has the potential to bring travel to a halt over much of Kansas and Missouri on Tuesday and Wednesday. Winds are expected to pick up on Tuesday and cause near blizzard conditions on all major highways.

Our concern is the nature of marriage really isn't debatable because it is by definition a union between one man and one woman and when the state passes such a law of civil unions it creates a concern because it goes against the natural law." - Bob Gilligan, executive director, Catholic Conference of Illinois

Civil unions will be legal starting June 1. Illinois becomes the sixth state to take the step.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Illinois Senate has approved civil unions for gay couples.  Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign the measure.

Here's more information from the AP (as of 2:10 p.m.):