AP Tells the Stories of Parents Forced Out of Foster Care by the IL Civil Unions Court Decision


Props to the Associated Press for telling the stories of foster parents who are no longer able to help kids because of the recent Illinois court decision upholding the bad precedent set by the civil unions bill -- excluding faith-based adoption agencies:

In large part due to their faith, Mark Zartman and Beth Banuelos swung open their families’ doors to children from broken homes in southern Illinois. Over the years, some two dozen kids have found refuge with the Zartmans and about 50 with the Banueloses. Yet the Air Force retiree from Bartelso and the family counselor from Mascoutah are now among about 2,000 Illinois foster parents who face a painful decision if the government succeeds in ending its four-decade relationship with a Catholic charity over its opposition to Illinois’ new civil unions law.

... “We’re the most-needed program in southern Illinois,” said Gary Huelsmann, executive director of Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois, a Belleville diocese entity that handles about 630 foster children for the state. “People do this out of senses of love and care, and they very much want to do it with an agency that has strong Christian values,” he said. “We have a tremendous amount of loyalty.”

... In Murphysboro, Tammy Penrod and her husband have been foster parents to about 20 children for about the past six years through various agencies, most recently Catholic Social Services. The couple, who have three grown biological children, now have two foster children — siblings ages 10 and 8 — whom they’re adopting. “It was a calling,” said Penrod, who runs a daycare center. “We felt God was calling us into this for kids.”

Penrod — who is opposed to civil unions for any couples, gay or straight — believes the state’s stance is an affront to religious rights. If a judge rules against Catholic Charities, she said, “as soon as our adoption is through, this couple will be gone.”