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*** UPDATED x1 *** This just in… Koehler adoption bill goes down in Senate Exec

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011

* 11:53 am - Sen. Dave Koehler’s bill to allow religious organizations to refuse to offer adoption and foster care services to couple who’ve received civil unions just went down to defeat in the Senate Executive Committee. Stay tuned.

*** UPDATE *** From the Catholic Conference of Illinois…

“Lawmakers are obviously engaged in this issue. We will continue to seek a resolution that allows Catholic Charities to serve thousands of abused and neglected children in Illinois, and we are hopeful that resolution will be supported moving forward,” said Robert Gilligan, Executive Director, Catholic Conference of Illinois.

“This legislation allows Catholic Charities to operate within Church teachings, within the law and always with the best interest of the child at the forefront. Those in civil unions will not be prevented from becoming foster or adoptive parents. From Catholic Charities, they will be referred to DCFS or to one of the approximately 50 other private child welfare agencies throughout the state. Our agencies serve thousands of abused and neglected children in Illinois and are constantly rated a top performer by DCFS in providing permanency, stable foster homes and protection from further harm. We simply want to continue.”

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* We went over this topic yesterday, but here’s a bit of the coverage from earlier today. Tribune

Gay adoptions emerged Tuesday at the center of a Capitol culture clash as lawmakers pushed a measure to ensure faith-based groups could turn away committed same-sex couples who want to adopt children or provide foster homes.

Opponents say it’s a direct assault on Illinois’ new civil union law, which takes effect June 1. And some fear children will lose opportunities to be placed in loving homes because of discrimination. […]

Sponsoring senators argue religious groups shouldn’t have to go against their beliefs when placing children for adoption. And they say it simply clarifies legally what those groups have been doing for years.

“They have a right of conscience here. They’re not going to place a child with an unmarried couple,” said Sen. William Haine, D-Alton. “It’s either that or they’re driven out of the adoption business, which (would be) a terrible loss to the children of the state.”

* The sponsor speaks

“During the discussion of the law, I was asked a question about my intent and how the legislation would affect the other activities of religious-based groups,” [Democratic Sen. Dave Koehle] said. “I indicated that it was not my intent to make any group work against its own religious beliefs. I promised to clarify that issue with subsequent legislation. Senate Bill 1123 is that follow-up legislation. Though I know some people will find it objectionable, I feel I must keep my promise.”

Koehler added that the new proposal would require adoption agencies that refuse to serve lesbian and gay couples to provide those couples “with contact information for DCFS, which will direct the couples to agencies that do serve couples in civil unions.”

Longtime LGBT activist Rick Garcia agreed that the bill appears to stem from promises made last fall by senators who supported civil unions to carve out exemptions for religious groups. But Garcia said no one is trying to stop any religious-based or affiliated groups from discriminating if they choose to do so with their own money.

“If they want to do it on their own dime, then I don’t care what they do, but not when they’re taking your tax dollars and taking my tax dollars,” Garcia said. “If this is such a deeply held religious belief, let them pay for it.”

* More groups came out against the bill

The Illinois Log Cabin Republicans, the largest gay Republican organization in Illinois, has joined the opposition to a Democrat-sponsored amendment that would allow discrimination against couples in civil unions when it comes to adoption and foster care.

Senate Bill 1123 would allow religious institutions the right to refuse couples in a civil unions because of its “deeply held religious beliefs.”

“This amendment reeks of retaliation against supporters of the recently passed Civil Union legislations, which in part protects and strengthens gay and lesbian families,” said Michael Carr of Log Cabin Republicans. “Supporters of this amendment are really just harming Illinois children, and these supporters should be ashamed of themselves.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - frustrated GOP - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 12:42 pm:

    Let’s put this into historical perspective. Churches don’t always keep up with democracy and social change well. It took a long time to figure out blacks into church 150 years ago, then women into the clergy. They are slow to react and continue to risk their relevance with a growing group of adults.
    How long before someone who has gone to church all their life is faced with their best friend being turned away from adoption because they are gay and legally married. they have grown up with accepting people as they are, not knowing different. Now faced with such reality of their church secluding their friend from something so important as parenthood. Time again for some churches to change.
    Amazing, the churches that led the way of change 200 years ago with anti-slavery positions now trail desperately behind the democratically elected churches today.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 12:44 pm:

    Does anyone have a problem with the state deciding what are “bona fide religious organizations” and whether or not they exhibit “deeply held religious beliefs?”

  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 1:40 pm:

    Under Bob Gilligan’s argument, Catholic hospitals should also be allowed to refuse lesbians and gays to visit their partners in the hospital.

    But that, actually, is beside the point.

    What is the real point is that for the “thousands of abused and neglected children” that Catholic Charities serves, the best possible outcome is to be adopted by an immediate family member.

    But under Catholic Charities’ policy, an aunt or uncle who is lesbian or gay would be unable to adopt their own niece or nephew if that child happened to have been placed with Catholic Charities by DCFS.

  4. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===But that, actually, is beside the point===

    The point has been rendered moot. The Executive Committee voted it down. That’s the end of the story for now.

  5. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 2:40 pm:

    I’m trying to figure out why Catholic Charities has any role in adoptions at all. It seems like the track record of the Catholic Church has been pretty bad over the past fifty years or so.

  6. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 2:45 pm:

    - Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 2:40 pm:

    “It seems like the track record of the Catholic Church has been pretty bad over the past fifty years or so.”

    In what way is their track record bad?

  7. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    Cincy, I assume you meant that rhetorically?

  8. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:02 pm:


    Not at all. Literally.

  9. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    @47th Ward -

    Trust me, we haven’t heard the last from Catholic Charities on this one.

    @Cincinattus -

    How about this:

    The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services opened an investigation Sunday into the alleged sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl at Maryville Academy last month and reports that the Des Plaines youth home failed to contact police.

    Or this:

    The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, says Maryville employees failed to stop the girl from killing herself even though they had strong indications she was suicidal. It also alleges that a Maryville employee falsified and altered reports related to the death of Victoria Petersilka, who hanged herself from a fire sprinkler head in a bathroom at the facility in February 2002.

    In addition, the suit alleges Maryville failed to establish clear rules regarding suicides at the institution and did not have proper procedures in place “for the monitoring of youths with . . . severe depression.”

    Officials at Maryville have been on the defensive regarding Petersilka’s suicide since it was disclosed last year that a report written at the institution regarding her suicide was falsified.

    The suit seeks unspecified damages and reiterates claims made previously that Maryville house parent John Siers noted in an “unusual incident report” that Petersilka had begun “running around the house saying she was going to kill herself.” After her death, however, the report was revised, omitting the reference to suicide and stating instead that Petersilka had been threatening to run away.

    Or this:

    A Des Plaines-based social service agency that serves abused children announced today that computer files containing personal and medical information on almost 4,000 children who lived at agency facilities dating back to 1992 are missing.

    Maryville Academy, which last year worked with about 1,600 children in residential, shelter and hospital programs, lost three files with information on about 3,900 people, the agency said in an email this afternoon. The files were either stolen or misplaced.

  10. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:10 pm:

    Google it, Cincy.

  11. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:17 pm:

    Can you supply the search string?

  12. - Helping Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:26 pm:

    Try this Cincy


  13. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:41 pm:

    C, careful about going where angels might fear to tread. Most of us might have to concede that the Church hasn’t handles its child abuse problem well over the past many years, and still isn’t.

  14. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:41 pm:

    I see. Because a few perverted priests abused children, the Catholic Church should be prohibited from helping children find suitable homes.

    Using your logic, I propose that we no longer send our children to public schools.

  15. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:42 pm:

    An important point, I’m not suggesting the Church doesn’t handle its adoption programs well. From my personal experience they do.

  16. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:47 pm:


    I don’t think it was the adoptive services that had the sexual assault problems, and I agree that there are/were many issues with the way the Church handled the problem. I further contend that this argument that has been thrown out in both today’s and yesterday’s threads is somehow considered relevant by many of the liberals on this board. It is not.

    Apparently, in some people’s eyes, the Catholic Church will forever be prohibited from dealing with children ever again, or will always be subject to scorn for its past abuses. Heck, I think it was Democrats that promoted slavery a 150 years ago, should we hang that over their heads now?

    Fair warning: I haven’t stepped into a church in about 40 years. Whenever I meet a priest, I am afraid I will be stricken by lightening.

  17. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 3:55 pm:

    Cincy, the deposition of Cardinal George taken a few years ago provided testimony that he personally wrote letters to prison officials asking that pedophile priests be released from prison early. Cardinal George is still in charge and he has shown that he does not get it.
    As long as Cardinal George is in power, this is not old news.

  18. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 4:08 pm:

    “If this is such a deeply held religious belief, let them pay for it.”

    Exactly, or get out of the adoption business completely.

  19. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    - I further contend that this argument that has been thrown out in both today’s and yesterday’s threads is somehow considered relevant by many of the liberals on this board. It is not. -

    I don’t think the Catholic church as a whole is bad just because several priests and officials were part of a large abuse scandal. However, when the church insists on dictating morality with taxpayer money, it’s absolutely fair to question the hypocrisy in them dictating morality at all.

  20. - kelsey - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 7:12 pm:

    Mr. Garcia, it’s my tax money too and I don’t want it to support abortion, but I don’t have a choice, do I?

    For all of the posts so far, here are some questions to ponder: what is wrong with passing the amendment to this bill? Gay couples can still adopt through any other agency. Why put Catholic Charities out of business? There is no downside to this bill. Religious organizations are able to provide a needed service and gay couples can adopt elsewhere. By the way, the argument that family members who are gay could not be foster or adoptive parents under Catholic Charities is wrong. They could, unless they were in a civil union or living in an openly gay relationship. Catholic Charities won’t allow adoptions to unmarried straight couples who are living together either.

    I challenge anyone who has so much dislike of the Catholic Church to take some time to actually study the faith and make an educated comment. I am very grateful that the Catholic Church does not change with the flow of the times—look where that has gotten society.

  21. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 7:18 pm:

    - look where that has gotten society. -

    I know, religious freedom, civil rights, gender equality, what a nightmare…

  22. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 7:23 pm:

    Kelsey, change “gay” to “black” and see if your view changes. Maybe it wouldn’t.

  23. - kelsey - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 8:37 pm:

    skeeter-this issue has nothing to do with skin color and you know it.

    stl-how about, anything goes, nothing is immoral, it’s all about making me happy, who cares about the betterment of society

  24. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 9:45 pm:

    Kelsey, what a wild statement. You seem to think that discriminating against gays will make you happy, so that’s all that should matter.

    The Catholic Church over the past 100 years has thought that protecting itself rather than children will make itself happy and who cares about the betterment of society.

    Face it Kelsey: You like groups that discriminate. You think it is OK and it makes you happy. Others don’t share your view.

  25. - I have changed my mind - Wednesday, Apr 13, 11 @ 9:51 pm:

    I know a lesbian couple that take care of three girls that the heterosexual parents were incapable of doing so. They are raised much better in this family than in their biological one. The mother keeps their benefits so the couple doesnt benefit at all. They should be able to adopt them as far as I am concerned. This is the only family they have ever known. Both parents are wonderful parents and they are exposed to a very Catholic family as well as a Assembly of God church family. No agenda is forced upon the girls other than love and discipline. Things the “straight” parents couldn’t do. Any religious person would know these children are better off.

  26. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 7:26 am:

    - how about, anything goes -

    Sounds better than bigotry.

  27. - Rick Garcia - Sunday, Apr 17, 11 @ 7:45 pm:

    The Catholic Conference of Illinois has been one the strongest opponents of civil rights and fairness for gay and lesbian people. Not from any moral or theological position but from a concern for litigation.

    (I’m not even going to go to how the Conference also opposed a bill to extend the statute of limitations for victims of child abuse - oops I just did!)

    The Conference of Bishops is less concerned about the ‘moral implications’, less concerned about Church teaching, and more concerned about the ‘legal implications’ as was evident in Gilligans testimony.

    Too bad the Conference wasn’t as vigilant with the legal implications of pederasts.

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