Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-05-20
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Bill attempts to amend state's civil-unions law
by Chuck Colbert
2011-05-18

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In yet another attempt to exempt religiously affiliated child welfare agencies from providing adoption and foster-care services to gay couples, state Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Edwardsville, has introduced a bill that would amend the Illinois civil-unions law.

Kay filed the measure, House Bill 3774, on May 11, with the same language as a previous but unsuccessful Senate amendment.

The new bill states: "A child welfare agency that is religiously based or owned by, operated by, or affiliated with a bona fide religious organization may opt out of fulfilling a request for services, including an adoption or foster family home application, including any licensure and placement, which would constitute a violation of the organization's sincerely held religious doctrines or beliefs."

The House version also stipulates that if an agency declines an application, it must refer prospective parents to the Department of Children and Family Services for regional licensed child welfare agencies.

Reached by phone, Kay told Windy City Times he filed the bill with only one purpose in mind. "The Catholic diocese in our area and the Catholic Children's Home would like to keep their doors open and continue to serve the state of Illinois in a useful capacity," he explained.

Kay said that officials from Catholic Charities and the Catholic Children's Home asked him to file the legislation.

Located in Alton, the Catholic Children's Home is sponsored and supported by the Springfield diocese. The home "serves to promote and care for the needs, education and welfare of dependent, neglected or otherwise needy children and youths who need structured care away from their own homes," according to the agency's web site. The home provides services "without regard to poverty, riches, race, religion, or national origin of the youths."

Kay viewed the bill's religious exemption as "a reasonable accommodation," he said, adding his intent is "in no way to discriminate, but to keep the doors of the Catholic Children Home open. If this is the only way to that, I am willing to do what it takes."

However an openly gay lawmaker who sponsored the civil unions law said once again that Catholic leaders and legislative allies are looking for a way around state law to discriminate against gay and lesbian people.

"Whether it starts in the House or whether it starts in the Senate, this seems to be an attempt to carve out a niche where a state-funded agency can discriminate against one group of citizens," said state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago. "That is unacceptable."

Kay said he understands that argument. Still, "I guess you could also make the argument that we are discriminating against the Church," he said.

Carolyn Matheson, director of advancement for Catholic Charities of the Peoria diocese, agreed. "Hypocritically, the same people who say we're discriminatory are discriminating against us for remaining true to Catholic moral teaching," she told the National Catholic Register.

Not so, said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's largest gay-rights group. "The Church does not have to do anything that violates its beliefs," he said. "It's that [Church officials] just cannot ask the state to fund their religious activities if they are not willing to comply with the best-interest-of-the-child standard. If they are not willing to comply, then the public should not fund them. It's clear and simple. They cannot have it both ways."

Meanwhile, the spring session of the legislature is likely to adjourn by the end of this month. With time running out, Kay acknowledged his bill has a slim chance.

"I don't see it getting to a committee hearing until next year, when it would have to be refilled, unless it's picked up and moved out of committee for a vote in the fall," he said.

Time fast approaches, too, for the historic civil-unions law, which takes effect on June 1 and extends equivocal spousal benefits available at the state level to registered same-sex partners.

If Catholic or other religiously affiliated social service and child-welfare agencies refuse to offer adoptive or foster-care services to gay couples in civil unions, the organizations may be open to lawsuits or be denied state funding.

Already, "Illinois officials are investigating whether religious agencies that receive public money to license foster care and adoptive parents are breaking anti-discrimination laws if they turn away potential parents who are openly gay," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Moreover, "If they are found in violation, Lutheran Child and Family Services, Catholic Charities in five regions outside Chicago, and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency will have to license openly gay foster parents or lose millions of state dollars, potentially disrupting thousands of foster children in their care," according to the Tribune.

The Illinois Human Rights Act, in fact, prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of any number of enumerated and protected categories, including sexual orientation, marital status and religion.

"If Catholic Charities and Lutheran (Missouri Synod) Child Family Services want to discriminate against gay people, fine," said gay-rights activist Rick Garcia, a practicing Catholic. "If they feel so strongly about this, let them give up the millions in state money."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Catholic Charities has more than 3,000 children in their foster and adoption services, representing 20 percent of all Illinois adoption and foster-care services, and that the state pays Catholic Charities $30 million annually for its services.

Five Catholic Charities branches associated with Illinois dioceses are responsible for about 20 percent of the state's foster-care case adoptions, according to the Catholic Register.

However, in 2007 Catholic Charities in the Chicago archdiocese halted such services because of prohibitively expensive liability insurance.

For some time, the Catholic Conference of Illinois—the official lobbying arm of the Catholic Church—has been pushing for a religious exemption, saying that Catholic agencies would be forced out of providing foster-care and adoption services if they are not able to opt out.

"It's an issue of conscience," said Robert Gilligan, the organization's executive director, according to the Associated Press.

Attempts to reach Gilligan were unsuccessful.

For its part, the Civil Rights Agenda, a statewide advocacy organization, issued a statement. "We have been expecting this legislation to be filed in the House and we have a strategy in place," said Lowell Jaffe, the group's political director.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Clinton responds to Chicago couple 2015-05-24
Ireland votes yes to marriage equaliy 2015-05-23
Study: Reactions of heterosexual siblings to same-sex marriage advances 2015-05-22
Hinshaw & Culbertson hosts marriage debrief event 2015-05-19
Relationships & the Law Today: Possible Supreme Court marriage outcomes 2015-05-13
VIEWS Getting married 2015-05-13
National roundup: Cleveland's pro-gay move; Hawaii's pro-trans law; trans teen's suicide 2015-05-12
MCC founding pastor presides at blessing of aame-gender couples in Cuba 2015-05-12
Griner, Johnson tie the knot 2015-05-10
Film about 1970s gay marriage screens May 16 with discussion 2015-05-06
World: Nepal outreach; U2 and Russia ban; Ecuadorean civil unions 2015-05-05
Gay Qantas CEO talks marriage, diversity 2015-05-05
Supreme Court deliberations continue in private 2015-05-04
Book details Iowa's marriage path prior to Supreme Court arguments 2015-04-29
Marriage-equality vigil in Crystal Lake 2015-04-29
Kirk takes part in rally outside Supreme Court hearing 2015-04-29
Marriage supporters gather in Chicago after Supreme Court hearings 2015-04-29
Celebrations: Mansfield-Weinstein married April 10 2015-04-29
Marriage equality: The timeline 2015-04-29
Financial pros discuss same-sex marriage 2015-04-28
MOMBIAN Parents moving marriage forward 2015-04-28
Supreme Court hears marriage arguments; the wait begins 2015-04-28
DeBoer, Rowse, Bonauto release statements on today's arguments in marriage cases 2015-04-28
Supreme Court hears arguments challenging same-sex marriage bans 2015-04-28
Reports tout married same-sex couples 2015-04-28
Oregon baker loses final round is bias case 2015-04-24
Study: Number of married same-sex couples triples; one in six in non-marriage states 2015-04-24
Preview: Supreme Court argument April 28 2015-04-20
Tax day shows inequality for legally married same-sex couples 2015-04-15
Report: Manilow married last year 2015-04-15
Study: Support for same-sex marriage rising in all 50 states 2015-04-14
Limited Partnership on Independent Lens, PBS, June 15 2015-04-13
Chicago LGBTs gear up for supreme court decision 2015-04-10
Married same-sex couples denied health care benefits by employers 2015-04-09
VIEWS In God we crust 2015-04-08
Sign company offers custom decor for LGBT weddings 2015-04-08
Planner pens same-sex wedding organizer 2015-04-08
Andrew Sullivan talks marriage, Indiana at Elmhurst lecture 2015-04-07
Gov. Rauner says 'no' to Indiana travel ban 2015-04-01
Campaign looks at Social Security benefits for same-sex couples 2015-03-31
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.