petitions:

(via Remove “Conscience Clause” Discrimination From Adoption - The Petition Site)

I’m sorry, but if the government is funding you, YOU REVOKE YOUR RIGHT TO AN OPINION ON WHO IS WORTHY OF HAVING CHILDREN, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT FUCKING PAYING THE PRICE OF KEEPING KIDS OUT OF LOVING FAMILIES.

» URGENT: Foster Care & Adoptions Under Attack AGAIN

From Equality Illinois:

"They did it again!  Opponents of LGBT equality have launched yet another attack on foster care and adoptions by same-sex couples.  Again, we need your help to stop these attacks decisively in their tracks.

Even though Equality Illinois and our allies defeated three similar attacks in the legislature last spring, State Senator Kyle McCarter proposed legislation on Wednesday that would allow child welfare agencies to discriminate in adoption and foster care services using any religious pretext.

This action is unacceptable.  When it comes to child welfare, there can be no double standards.

  • Current law requires all agencies to use best-interests-of-the-child standard. All child welfare agencies receiving public funds should be required to adhere strictly to this standard and not be allowed to substitute it with their own, potentially biased criteria.
  • All agencies - including religious ones - that accept public funds to offer any services on behalf of the state should not be allowed to discriminate.
  • According to latest US Department of Health & Human Services numbers, there are nearly 20,000 children in Illinois in foster care or in the adoption process.  Allowing publicly-funded child welfare agencies to reject otherwise qualified parents only because they are lesbian or gay limits the pool of best parents for the children, keeping them in the system even longer.
  • This is the fourth time this year that our opponents have tried to carve out an exemption for themselves, and all three branches of state government have rejected their argument.  Even the Catholic Diocese of Peoria recognized just last week that our opponents’ argument has no basis in law.

ACT NOW!  First, call the office of State Senator McCarter at (618) 654-4068 and urge him to withdraw his bill because the sole factor in adoption and foster care placements should continue to be the best interest of the child. Second, support our proven, aggressive bipartisan advocacy efforts on the ground in Springfield that continue to block these attacks successively.    

We will keep you updated on the developments of this bill as they unfold.  Meanwhile, please stand with Equality Illinois today in our fight against this bill.

Please forward this message to your family and friends across the State, and please continue to support the work of Equality Illinois.

Very truly yours,
Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer”

» BREAKING: Peoria Diocese Quits Fight Over Child Welfare Placements

From Equality Illinois:

"Yesterday afternoon, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria announced its intention to withdraw from Catholic Charities’ ongoing legal battle with the State of Illinois over child welfare placements.  

Four Catholic Dioceses in Illinois began the legal fight after a failed attempt in legislature to get an exemption from the “best interests of the child” standard required by the State in all publicly-funded child welfare contracts. The four Dioceses argued that even though they accepted public funds to offer adoption and foster care placements on behalf of the State, they would refuse to comply fully with the best interests of the child standard and instead use their own standard.  The Dioceses’ own criteria would have rejected otherwise qualified prospective parents only because of the parents’ civil union status.

The legislature refused to grant Catholic Charities that exception, and the State ended the $30 million contract with Catholic Charities for adoption and foster care placement services.  The files of the children who were previously being placed by the Catholic Charities are now being transfered to other local child welfare agencies who agree to follow fully the best interests of the child standard.  

Over the summer, a circuit court hearing the case also ruled against Catholic Charities.  In effect, all three branches of government - legislative, executive, and judicial - have rejected Catholic Charities’ argument that they be allowed to not follow the best interests of the child standard all while accepting public funds.  

The Peoria Diocese clearly recognized the losing argument and wisely decided to withdraw from the lawsuit.  Equality Illinois urges the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Belleville, and Joliet to follow suit.

Very truly yours,

Randy Hannig
Director of Public Policy”

» UPDATE: Anti-LGBT Adoption Amendment Stalls, Fight the Hate Tomorrow!

From Equality Illinois:

Thanks to your calls, HB 3184 passed the Illinois State Senate WITHOUT the anti-LGBT amendment! Just like the attempt that Equality Illinois and our allies defeated last month, HB 3184 would have amended the Civil Union law to allow religiously affiliated child welfare agencies to discriminate in adoption and foster care services using any pretext. This is unacceptable: when it comes to child welfare, there cannot be double standards.

Equality Illinois is vigilantly watching anti-LGBT bills and is currently monitoring another anti-gay bill (HB 3447), which can still come up for a vote in the Illinois legislature.

However, our opponents are not giving up and we can’t either! In fact, as we alerted you earlier, they plan to hold a rally against LGBT equality in the name of faith. Join the counter-protest tomorrow, Friday, May 27 against American’s for Choice and the Illinois Family Institute, anti-gay and anti-civil union rally in downtown Chicago. The counter rally will begin at 10:45am outside of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the Loop (110 W. Madison Ave., Chicago) and follow the group as they make their way to the Thompson Center (corner of Clark and Randolph). Bring your signs!

Very truly yours,

Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer”

» URGENT: Civil Unions Under Attack in Springfield AGAIN!

Again this is mainly an Illinois thing, and also a donation thing.

From Equality Illinois:

“Just hours ago, another attack was launched in the State Senate on civil unions. We need you to ACT NOW (see below) to stop these attacks decisively in their tracks.

Just like the attempt that Equality Illinois and our allies defeated last month, proposed legislation would amend the Civil Union law to allow child welfare agencies to discriminate in adoption and foster care services using any religious pretext.  This is unacceptable: when it comes to child welfare, there cannot be double standards.

ACT NOW!  First, call your State Senator and demand that s/he oppose Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 3184.  Secondrenew your membership with Equality Illinois and support our aggressive bipartisan advocacy efforts on the ground in Springfield that continue to block these attacks successively.

Current law requires all agencies to use best-interests-of-the-child standard.  All agencies - including religious ones - receiving public funds to offer child welfare services on behalf of the State should be required to continue applying the best-interests-of-the-child standard, and not be allowed to replace that standard with their own religious criteria.

According to latest US Department of Health & Human Services statistics, there are nearly 20,000 children in Illinois in foster care or adoption process.  Our society cannot afford to reject perfectly qualified parents only on the grounds of their sexual orientation and relationship status.  No agency is required to accept public funds to perform the state function on behalf of the state.  However, all agencies receiving public funds should be required to continue to apply the bests-interests-of-the-child standard and not be allowed to discriminate using religious pretext.

Please forward this message to your family and friends across the State, and please continue to support the work of Equality Illinois.

Very truly yours,

Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer

» LGBT Good News

I know I post a lot of bad news and outrage. So I thought I’d copy some articles from the Human Rights Campaign that are good news for LGBT Americans.

Governor of Delaware signs Civil Unions bill into law!

Hawaii passes new law that makes it illegal to discriminate against potential employees based on gender identity or presentation.

Every Child Deserves a Family Act has been reintroduced to the House, which bans discrimination against potential adoptive and foster care parents based on their sexual orientation, marital status, and gender identity, as well as bans discrimination against children up for adoption based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

neive:

fattiesinlove:

corruptpolitics:

As several states have moved to make it harder for same-sex families to adopt children or become foster parents, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would make such discrimination illegal across the country.

I’m surprised this wasn’t thought of before. I hope this gets passed because there is NO REASON NOT TO. ALL of the national child psychology and welfare associations agree on this; gay adoption is FINE.

(Source: The Huffington Post)

» Illinois Senate Panel REJECTS Adoption-Limiting Bill

From Equality Illinois:

You did it!  The State Senate Executive Committee just voted to reject the discriminatory Amendment 1 to SB1123.

Thanks to your efforts and efforts of so many of LGBT equality supporters across Illinois, who participated in our call to action, Senators voted down the proposal, which would have allowed religiously-affiliated child welfare agencies to reject same-sex couples in a civil union in the adoption or foster care process. Because of your commitment, all child welfare agencies in Illinois will continue to be required to follow the best interests of the child standard, without exception.  We have been on the ground in Springfield with our bi-partisan advocacy team fighting this discriminatory bill.

We have reached out to numerous organizations to oppose this bill, and many have gone on record in opposition, from Child Care Association of Illinois to Chicago Bar Association to Anti-Defamation League.  We are also grateful to many of our partner organizations, such as ACLU, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Protestants for the Common Good, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, and many others who participated in the aggressive effort to defeat the discriminatory bill.

Congratulations on this victory.  And especially at a time like this, on behalf of all of us at Equality Illinois, I am grateful to you for your support of our mission.

Very truly yours,
Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer”

» Anti-LGBT Adoption and Civil Union Legislation in Illinois

From Equality Illinois:

"The State Senate bill to limit same-sex couples’ ability to adopt is moving forward, and we need you to ACT NOW to stop the bill decisively in its tracks.  We first alerted you to this attack when it was just introduced in the State Senate, but now it has been assigned to the Executive Committee and a hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Please call the State Capitol at 217-782-3944 to connect with your Senator.

If it succeeds, the proposed legislation would amend the Civil Union law to allow child welfare agencies to discriminate in adoption and foster care services using any religious pretext. Specifically, in considering adoption or foster care applications, agencies would be allowed to simply reject same-sex couples in civil unions.  This is unacceptable: when it comes to child welfare, there cannot be double standards.

Child welfare agencies should continue to make their determinations only on the best interests of the child. All agencies - including religious ones - receiving public funds to offer child welfare services on behalf of the state should not be allowed to discriminate.

Limiting the pool of eligible parents only hurts the children in the adoption and foster care system.  According to latest US Department of Health & Human Services numbers, there are nearly 20,000 children in Illinois in foster care or adoption process. Current law requires all agencies to use best-interests-of-the-child standard. All agencies receiving public funds should continue to apply this standard and not be allowed to discriminate using religious pretext.

ACT NOW by calling your State Senator and demanding that s/he oppose Amendment 1 to bill SB1123. Don’t wait; this amendment will be voted on as early as tomorrow morning.

Discrimination is never acceptable, so stand up against SB1123 now. Please join me in urging our State Senators to vote AGAINST Amendment 1 to SB1123.

Please forward this message to your family and friends across the State, and please continue to support the work of Equality Illinois.”