Update: the bill was defeated in committee.
IGet on the phone right this moment and ask for your Illinois Senator at 217-782-3944.
The Illinois GOP is trying to shove a pro-discrimination law down our throats in the form of an amendment to an innocent-seeming bill supporting the blind. Its ironic to get blindsided by a “blind” bill.
The new law proposed in Amendment 001 (besides clarifying the fees that County Clerks are able to charge for certain services) would exempt religious and private adoption agencies accepting state taxpayer funds from the Human Rights Act in Illinois, a law that prevents discrimination based on race, religion, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation. So if the Catholic Charities adoption agency doesn’t think the sweet little white baby should be placed with the two black dads, they can say no, and there won’t be anything we can do about it.
Regardless of how qualified the two black dads are. Regardless of how much better it would be for that child with loving, capable parents than to sit and waste away in an orphanage or end up in the foster system.
It should be noted that Sen Koehler–the bill’s sponsor and amendment author–has a lesbian daughter that just got engaged. I wonder why this man would sponsor a bill that would want to prevent his daughter from adopting.
This is about bigotry. The far right is angry that minorities like the LGBT community and people of color may actually be approaching equality in this state, and they want to do everything in their power to undermine it.
See for yourself. Go to the bill’s page on the Illinois Assembly’s site. Click on “Full Text” under “Bill Status” near the top. Then in about the same place on the “Full Text” page, you’ll see “Amendment 001.” Click that. On that page, scroll down to page 28 and start reading until the end.
Have a bucket nearby just in case the sheer disgusting blatant evil of the text forces you to revisit lunch. These folks are insidious.
Here is what the American Civil Liberties Union sent out earlier today regarding the bill:
-SB 1123 Amendment 1 (Sen. Koehler).
Amends the Civil Union Act to allow religiously affiliated child welfare agencies to discriminate against parties to a civil union and to refer the parties to a civil union to DCFS for information concerning non-discriminatory child welfare agencies for adoption or foster family home applications, licensure and placements.
- 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 andadoptive homes to children, in violation of the Due Process Fourteenth Amendment rights ofwards of DCFS to be safe and adequately cared for as recognized in the B.H. Consent Decree.
- All of the leading child welfare organizations have recognized, based on years of rigorous scientific studies, that lesbian and gay parents are just as good at parenting as are heterosexual parents; there is no legitimate state interest served by taking potential loving families out of the pool of placements. As a result of this bill, the best placement -a child’s aunt or a skilled nurse or social worker who would welcome a child with special needs -may be rejected, simply because the prospective parent is lesbian or gay.
- The federal equal protection clause bans the government from allowing private agencies to practice discrimination when choosing families for adoptive children. The obligation to license foster parents and to screen adoptive parents is the state’s. When the state delegates part of that duty to a private agency the state remains responsible to make certain that the process is consistent with state and federal law, including the 14th Amendment; religiously affiliated agencies should not be permitted to discriminate, especially when doing so can hurt children by excluding a whole class of loving families.
SB1123 violates the constitutional rights of Illinoisans by burdening the rights of lesbian and gay couples and other unmarried persons to establish intimate relationships. See Arkansas Dept. of Human Serv. v. Cole, 2011 Ark. 145, 2011 WL 1319217 (Ark. Apr. 7, 2011) (law prohibiting persons cohabiting in an unmarried intimate relationship from serving as adoptive or foster parents violates their fundamental right to form intimate relationships).