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LGBT rights have been increasing within the past few years, but there is still a ways to go. According to a recent article published by the Chicago Phoenix, a conservative state lawmaker of Illinois is making an attempt to dismantle adoption protections for gay and lesbian couples in civil unions.
A bill was introduced last month by Sen. Kirk Dillard that, if passed, would give child welfare agencies operated by religious institutions to deny adoption applications to couples in civil unions if they felt it would go against its “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Dillard’s bill is a replica of a few other bills that have been considered and ultimately killed in the past couple of years since the
Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act became law in 2011.
According to Rick Garcia, an LGBT rights activist and director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project at The Civil Rights Agenda, the bill will most likely be killed once it is sent to the Senate Executive Committee. Garcia believes this to be true due to the fact that it will face a Democratic majority of 10 and only five Republicans.
Garcia stated, “When are they going to stop beating that dead horse? This has been coming up for years now.”
It is also true though, that Garcia is worried that LGBT rights proponents may currently be too focused on marriage equality to fight this anti-gay bill.
Sen. Dillard’s bill would allow religious institutions to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, ultimately opening up the door to further dismantle the current civil unions law.
This current law states that all benefits that people in a marriage may have access to are also accessible for those in civil unions, which includes the right to adopt. It requires that all adoption agencies receiving state funds use one standard for placing children into homes: What is best for the child. TCRA has reported that over 15,000 children currently live in the Illinois foster system.
As of now, the Senate committee has not established a date to consider Dillard’s proposal.
If you are considering applying to adopt a child, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney to assist you in the event that any issues arise.