Bill Would Let Agencies Deny Adoptions To Same-Sex Couples

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Gay rights advocates are outraged over proposed state legislation that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with couples joined in a civil union.

The proposed amendment is tacked onto state Senate Bill 1123, proposed Feb. 28, which deals with the rights of the blind and physically disabled. The amendment says a child welfare agency that is either faith-based or owned by a religious organization “may decline an adoption or foster family home application… from a party to a civil union if acceptance of that application would constitute a violation of the organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The amendment says the agencies are responsible for referring couples they reject to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services so they can find out about other agencies.

Opponents are taking issue with the amendment because the faith-based adoption agencies receiving taxpayer funds would be allowed to discriminate.

The battle pits the chief Senate and House sponsors of the civil union law against each other.

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The law’s chief Senate sponsor, State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), has been in an unusual position since agreeing to become the civil union law’s chief Senate sponsor, as both the parent of a gay and an ordained minister. He said he is merely trying to clean up language in the civil unions law, which takes effect July 1.

But on his Facebook page, state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the openly gay lawmaker who sponsored the successful legislation to legitimize same-sex civil unions in Illinois, said the legislation is being “fast-tracked.”

Those siding with Harris and the ACLU call it discrimination and say that faith-based adoption agencies receiving taxpayer funds should not be be allowed to discriminate.

Harris also shared a fact sheet distributed by the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union, which called the legislation not only discriminatory, but potentially harmful to children.

“Since lesbian and gay male couples are denied the ability to marry and their marriages legally entered elsewhere are treated as civil unions, SB 1123 perpetuates a long history of discrimination towards lesbian and gay couples and reduces the pool of available foster and adoptive homes to children,” the fact sheet said.

The fact sheet also said reducing the number of homes where wards of the state can be placed is a violation of their constitutional due process rights.

Harris and other gay rights supporters want voters to contact their state senators to vote against the bill.

The legislation allowing for civil unions in Illinois was signed into law by Gov. Quinn on Jan. 31, after being approved by both houses of the state General Assembly in December. The law will take effect on July 1.

A constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage in Illinois was proposed in February. But last week, it was sent last week to the senate Executive Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, which doesn’t have any members or scheduled meetings, in what experts say is a common move to sweep away a piece of proposed legislation.

  • James McIntyre

    this is sooo wrong people should be able to adopt there are so many kids that need a loving home

  • Signia Alers

    This is so sad. The only thing the Gay people are doing is trying to LOVE a child that was born to a STRAIGHT person who will say oops I made a mistake, or is a drug addict, or didn’t want a child. Why does America allow crack heads to breed 10 children and put the kids in that God forsaken foster care system we have and never intervene! Yet when a Gay couple wants to adopt those 10 crack addicted kids just to LOVE them and give them a CHANCE in liife the Government denies them their RIGHTS. Not only the RIGHTS of gays are being denied but the RIGHTS of those children that DID NOT choose to be born! Can anyone answer this?

  • gah

    What a dirty, nasty Conservative-style strategy – tacking on an amendment that bans adoptions by gay couples to a bill that protects the rights of the disabled. Anyone who wants to support adoptions by gay couples is forced to choose between that and disabled rights. I am so, so sick and tired of people with moral superiority complexes imposing their beliefs on others. Such small-mindedness and selfishness. We aren’t living in a theocracy.

  • Vic

    This is SAD. Every day, I MEAN EVERYDAY you hear about children who are abused, murdered, tortured, raped, living in filth, starved, locked in cages and the list goes on. And this is done by a parent, foster parent, relative, boyfriend or girlfriend (whom the majority of are STRAIGHT). It seems to me that the goverment is more concerned about what goes on in a GAY person’s bedroom than whether or not they could care for and love a child.

  • Ace

    Parents should be a man and woman.

    • David

      I agree, the last thing kids need to grow up learning is, it’s OK to be gay. Sick Puppies.

  • Apostle Jean Morris

    Parents should be a man and woman if married.

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