In recent years, and in several states, the Catholic church has shut down its adoption services rather than comply with state laws mandating that gay and lesbian couples be granted equal opportunity to adopt.

In its public communications the Church has consistently said that it could only be licensed by the states to handle adoptions if it complied with these laws.

Supporters of the laws have consistently said that the Church would merely have been denied state funds if it hadn’t complied.

The implication of the Church’s statements is that it could not function at all without obedience to the laws (presumably because state laws do not allow for non-licensed organizations to administer adoptions); the implication of its opponents’ statements is that the Church could have continued to offer adoptions but at a higher cost.

I have read dozens and dozens of articles and posts about this controversy, every single one of which merely asserts its position as factual without any substantiation (e.g., from the relevant legal codes). Moreover, I can’t tell whether the legal situation might be significantly different in different states.

Can anyone point me to reliable sources on these questions? (And please: do not simply make your own unsubstantiated assertions. That would be to darken counsel by words without knowledge. I need reliable sources here.) IĀ don’t have commenting enabled here, so replies on Twitter or via email are best. I would be very grateful for any assistance.

UPDATE: Thanks to those who replied. I have lots of stuff to read now!