Anti-Gay Adoption Bill Shot Down by Civil Rights and LGBT Activists in Springfield
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act grants the rights of traditionally married couples to civil union couples, including the right to adopt. This caused quite a bit of controversy when Catholic Charities refused to offer civil union adoption services to same-sex couples. Although Catholic Charities, which was publicly funded though a private religious organization, has since withdrawn from the legal battle to continue receiving state funds while reserving the right to refuse adoption services, it is not the end of the battle between religion, same-sex civil unions, and state law.
According to ChicagoPhoenix.com, a bill that would have amended the Civil Union Act to allow religion-based child welfare organizations to refuse adoption services to civil union couples was killed in Springfield by civil rights activist groups such as the Illinois ACLU and LGBT groups such as The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA). The bill, which was introduced in October, would have ultimately allowed religious adoption institutions to discriminate against lesbian and gay civil union couples. This bill is only one of several similar bills introduced since last year.
TCRA filed testimony before the Executive Subcommittee on Civil Rights vote stating that Catholic Charities has every right to discriminate against potential adoptive and foster care parents on the basis that their religious beliefs prevent them from placing children in same-sex civil union households. However, “as an agent of the State of Illinois, using public funds, it is against the law to discriminate based on sexual orientation.”
The executive director of TCRA, who is Catholic, is saddened and dismayed that Catholic Charities would refuse foster care and adoption services due to discrimination. Furthermore, the policy advisor for TCRA sees this bill, and similar bills, solely as an attempt to allow the Catholic Conference to continue its “agenda of bigotry and hate.” In the end, however, if a religiously-based adoption service wants to discriminate, they will have to sever ties with the state.
The Illinois civil union law is an important step forward in the fight for equal rights but, for some, acceptance unfortunately takes a while longer. As the attempts to subvert the Civil Union Act continue, it is imperative that the message of equality grows even stronger. If you have questions about the Illinois Civil Union Act or are considering entering into a civil union, the dedicated civil union lawyers in Chicago at Nottage and Ward can help. Call us today for a consultation at (312) 332-2915.
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