Just two weeks after Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples in Illinois, a trio of bills restricting gay rights were introduced in the General Assembly. Fortunately, one has already failed and the others will likely have the same fate. Still, they show that the fight for gay rights is certainly not over in the Prairie State.
bill (SB 1993) that would have allowed “faith-based policies or practices” for
religious institutions providing adoption services -- effectively
allowing for religious discrimination against a prospective parent --
was struck down in the Senate Human Services Committee last week. Concerned
that any religious organization condemning homosexuality could deny
them adoption rights, advocates for gay rights like the ACLU and
Equality Illinois worked to make sure SB 1993 would fail. ACLU’s Ed Yohnka told the Windy City Times, "We've got too many kids who've already need good homes, we
don't need to start carving up the pool of potential foster parents or
parents on the basis of ideology or bias."
With the Child Welfare Act already in place to protect the religious beliefs of the birth parents and the child, SB 1993 would have amended the state’s Child Care Act to allow for the adopting agency’s religious preferences too. The bill would have required the agency to disclose any religious policies to the prospective parent before applying fees, and to the birth parents before placement.
Two other anti-gay bills have been introduced -- HJRCA 10 and SJRCA 16 -- both of which would amend the Constitution to define marriage as "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in Illinois." Both bills are stalled and are likely to see the same fate as SB 1993.