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Anti-gay adoption bill reintroduced
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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An anti-gay adoption bill that was defeated last year has been reintroduced in the Illinois General Assembly.

Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard has introduced a bill that would allow religious-based child welfare agencies to turn away same-sex spouses.

After Gov. Quinn signed civil unions into law two years ago, Catholic Charities that had long held state foster care contracts refused to place children with same-sex civil union spouses, and the state declined to renew the contracts.

Catholic Charities unsuccessfully sued the state for the contracts.

Conservative lawmakers have since introduced legislation exempting religious groups from the law, but past bills have failed.

Per the current bill, SB2369, religious-based agencies could turn away civil union couples and refer them to the Department of Children and Family Services.

Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda, noted the past failed attempts to push the bill.

"They really should stop beating this dead horse," Garcia said. But, he added, LGBT people should not brush off the bill as harmless.

"What I'm concerned about right now is everyone is so focused on marriage," Garcia said. "If we're not vigilant, we could lose on one of these things."

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov also slammed the bill as a "cynical move by a politician at the expense of the best welfare of the state's children."

"The established standard of making placements for foster care or adoption in the best

interest of the child was not changed by the civil union law, so now Sen. Dillard is trying

to do that," Cherkasov said in a statement. "We will not allow him to establish a precedent that could be applied later when the freedom to marry becomes the law of the land in Illinois."

The bill has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee, the same committee that passed the gay marriage bill earlier this year.

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