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Immigrant Groups Lose Catholic Funding Over Gay Marriage Support

Nine immigration-rights groups lost Catholic grant money after joining a coalition that supports same-sex marriage. Joining the coalition violated the contract they signed which requires groups to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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Nine Illinois immigrant groups have lost nearly $300,000 in grants from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development after joining a statewide coalition that backs same-sex marriage, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development awarded more than 40 grants this year to groups that work with those in poverty. All groups had to sign a contract agreeing to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church.

"Donors to the (Catholic Campaign) give to this anti-poverty organization with the understanding that their money will be passed on to organizations that respect the teachings of the Catholic faith," Cardinal Francis George, Chicago's archbishop, said in a statement in July. "Organizations that apply for funds do so agreeing to this condition."

Groups that lost grants report they have had to scale back their services.

"It was difficult to settle into our decision and live with it, but it wasn't that hard a decision to make," Leone Jose Bicchieri, the executive director of the Chicago Workers' Collaborative told the Chicago Tribune. "It was not the moment to splinter off from a statewide immigrant rights coalition. It was not the moment to not be united around immigration reform. That was the overriding consideration."

Several groups have created an emergency fund to help them raise the money they lost. So far, they have raised $91,000 of the $300,000 lost in grant funding.

"We don't have a formal stance on marriage equality," Jenny Arwade, executive director of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, told the Chicago Tribune. "Our organizational values are that we believe in equal rights for all people. We were disappointed in the decision. We also believe it's the church's decision to do what they want to do."