Springfield, IL —
A bill designed to allow religion based discrimination against gay and lesbian couples when it comes to foster and adoption services in Illinois was voted down Friday at the Illinois Senate Subcommittee on Civil Rights.
"This bill has been brought up multiple times over the course of a year and a half in both houses of the General Assembly," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA). "As a Catholic, I am saddened that Catholic Charities has stepped away from providing these services based solely on discrimination. We would like to thank Mary Dixon of the ACLU of Illinois for her fantastic testimony before the committee this morning."
TCRA has been working with the ACLU to kill SB2495, which was introduced by state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) last October. The Chicago-based organization filed testimony at the subcommittee, calling the bill "blatant homophobia."
The proposed legislation would have amended the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection & Civil Unions Act and allowed religious agencies to exclude, and thereby discriminate against, gay and lesbian couples who wish to adopt or be foster parents to children in Illinois.
"This is only about the Catholic Conference continuing their agenda of bigotry and hate," said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. "They are only trying to codify in law the ability to discriminate against gay and lesbian people. In the end, as an agent of the state they cannot discriminate, period."
A bill with similar language introduced in the Illinois General Assembly has not been put to a vote. State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Edwardsville) reintroduced House Bill 3942 on Jan. 20.
Conservative and religious attacks to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act have continued since it was enacted last June.