Amendment Would Put Discrimination Ahead of Children in the Adoption Process
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, called on the Republican leadership in the Illinois state Senate to drop Amendment 001 of Senate Bill 1123. The amendment, which would allow religious organizations that receive public funding to discriminate against LGBT families in the adoption process, is attached to a seemingly innocuous bill supporting the state's blind community. The amendment would exempt adoption agencies from the Illinois Human Rights Act, a law that prevents discrimination based on race, religion, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation. The amendment would also allow religious adoption agencies to refuse to place children with opposite-sex couples who have a civil union.
"With so many children in the foster care system who need a loving home, it is unfathomable that lawmakers would add an amendment to a bill limiting the number of families available to them," said HRC Family Project Director Ellen Kahn. "Child welfare experts agree that adoptive parents should be judged by their character and their ability to raise a child, not on their sexual orientation. The fact that lawmakers tried to hide this amendment within a bill that has nothing to do with adoption suggests that even they know it's not in the best interest of Illinois' children."
The nation's most reputable children's health and welfare organizations agree on this issue. The Child Welfare League of America, the nation's oldest and largest child welfare organization, opposes restrictions on adoption by gays and lesbians and believes that applicants should be assessed on their ability to parent a child, not on their marital status or sexual orientation. The North American Council on Adoptable Children opposes laws and legislation that restrict the consideration of prospective foster and adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation. The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children, supports legislation that allows same-sex couples to jointly adopt children. The American Psychological Association supports initiatives which allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt and co-parent children.
Kahn added: "It is our moral obligation to the children of Illinois and across the country to remove barriers to permanent families. Years of research, public opinion, and the practice of child welfare conclude that these discriminatory laws are not in the best interest of the children. They simply delay or deny access to stable, loving homes and force kids to languish in the foster care system."
A map detailing adoption laws across the country is available at www.hrc.org/documents/parenting-laws-maps.pdf.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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