Joined by one lone Democrat senator, William Haine of Alton, all Illinois Republican State senators have signed on as co-sponsors to a bill which would allow for religious exemptions to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act in the areas of adoption and foster care.
Under the proposed legislation, religious agencies would be allowed to exclude, and thereby discriminate against, gay and lesbian couples who wish to adopt or be foster parents to needing children in Illinois.
"This is a hollow political move that could have dire consequences for LGBT people," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda
(TCRA). "This state is facing one of the worst financial situations in its history so why would Republican legislators choose to focus on this issue now? Jobs in Illinois and a balanced budget are what Illinoisans want. Focus on that."
Introduced by Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Highland), Senate Bill 2495 was filed on October 12, 2011 and referred to assignments. Sources in Senate President John Cullerton's (D-Chicago) office indicate the bill is essentially dead on arrival and will not even enjoy committee assignment.
"People need to understand the difference between politics and the legislative process," explained TCRA policy director Lowell Jaffe. "This is merely partisan posturing. Our legislative team is working with our allies in Springfield focusing on fiscal issues that affect the LGBT community in this state, because that is what Illinoisans are really concerned about right now."
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protect and Civil Union Act into law on Jan. 31, 2011.