Though Illinois legislators championing the civil union bill earlier this year insisted that religious institutions would not be forced to bless same-sex unions, it said nothing about same-sex parents.
But what are the actual consequences?
Now, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Gov. Pat Quinn's legal team and the Department of Children and Family Services are carefully researching the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Civil Union Act and the Illinois Constitution to determine whether they prohibit agencies from considering sexual orientation as a factor in foster care and adoption. In Illinois, all adults who adopt or become foster care providers must obtain foster care licenses.
... If they are found in violation, Lutheran Child and Family Services, Catholic Charities in five regions and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency will have to license openly gay foster parents or lose millions of state dollars, potentially disrupting more than 3,000 foster children in their care.
"Social intervention such as adoption laws and practices inevitably reflect their communities," said Kendall Marlowe, a spokesman for DCFS. "Illinois as a state has grown on this (gay rights) issue as evidenced by (civil union legislation). Adoption law and practice should reflect the values of the people of Illinois."
But Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, said Catholic Charities has no intention of changing its policy against allowing openly gay foster parents after nearly a century of serving children in Illinois. Catholic Charities inspired the state to take on foster care, which ultimately led to the creation of DCFS. (source: Chicago Tribune)