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|Bill to Restrict Gay Couple Adoption Fails in Senate Committee
|(IRN)-An Illinois lawmaker who championed civil unions a few months ago now wants to restrict where gay couples can adopt children, but a Senate committee didn't agree with the idea.
State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) spoke passionately on the Senate floor about the need for civil unions in Illinois, with his gay daughter by his side. But he says he promised religious groups he would address some of their concerns, which included whether they can turn away gay couples.
"If this was going against the sincere religious belief of a certain religious group, or community of faith, they could choose not to serve the client," explains Koehler.
The legislation would have required the agency to point the clients to non-sectarian adoption agencies. The measure narrowly failed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday afternoon: Six voted yes, seven voted no and one voted present.
Opponents said any "discrimination" by state funded agencies, religious or not, would have surely brought lawsuits.
State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) was among the narrow majority of senators who voted the bill down. He says religious groups should be free to practice their faith how they see fit, but it's unconstitutional to deny someone rights based on race, creed or sexual orientation among others.
"We should look for a balance," says Schoenberg. "But the law clearly comes down on the side of protecting all Illinois citizens and all American citizens equally."
Religious groups say this measure would have simply written into law the practices they've abided by since 1995, when an appellate court ruled gay couples could adopt children.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|04 13 11 by Newsroom
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