Illinois Log Cabin Republicans join fight against amendment to allow discrimination

Tue. April 12, 2011 4:44 PM by News Staff

Anti-gay amendment sponsored by David Koehler, a downstate Democrat

Chicago, IL - The Illinois Log Cabin Republicans, the largest gay Republican organization in Illinois, has joined the opposition to a Democrat-sponsored amendment that would allow discrimination against couples in civil unions when it comes to adoption and foster care.

Senate Bill 1123 would allow religious institutions the right to refuse couples in a civil unions because of its "deeply held religious beliefs."

"This amendment reeks of retaliation against supporters of the recently passed Civil Union legislations, which in part protects and strengthens gay and lesbian families," said Michael Carr of Log Cabin Republicans. "Supporters of this amendment are really just harming Illinois children, and these supporters should be ashamed of themselves."

State Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria), who introduced the historic civil unions bill in the Illinois Senate, is now sponsoring the amendment which has many gay rights advocates concerned.

The Log Cabin Republicans say while they believe in the autonomy of religious institutions and their ability to operate in accordance with their belief system, but argue organizations which are government subsidized should not be allowed to discriminate against the gay and lesbian tax payers who fund them.

The Civil Rights Agenda, a gay rights advocacy group, calls the amendment a clear violation of the federal equal protection clause that bans the government from allowing any agency to practice discrimination when choosing parents for children in the adoption system.

"This bill is an attack on the Civil Union Act and by extension, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community," stated Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. 

State Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), a co-sponsor of the legislation, told the HuffPost Chicago that sexual orientation was never brought up. Haine indicated the Roman Catholic Church raised issue because it had historically not placed children in households where the couple is unmarried.

Martinez is concerned the bill, which is moving to the executive committee, could pass since Koehler and Haine are sponsors. TCRA and Equality Illinois are calling on members of the LGBT community to contact the co-sponsors of the legislation.

??Co-Sponsors of the Legislation:

??Senator David Koehler (217) 782-8250?
?Senator William Haine? (217) 782-5247
??Senator Thomas Johnson? (217) 782-8022?
?Senator Edward Maloney ?(217) 782-5145