Battle Over Gay Adoptions Erupts in Illinois Legislature

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Two Illinois senators are pushing a measure to give faith-based groups the right to turn away same-sex couples who seek to adopt children or provide them foster homes.

Opponents say the legislation is an effort to undermine the state’s new civil union law. But Democratic Sen. William Haine of Alton argues religious groups shouldn’t have to go against their beliefs when placing children for adoption or foster care.

In dispute is whether religious agencies such as Lutheran Child and Family Services and Catholic Charities will lose millions of state dollars if they adhere to their beliefs.

Democratic Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago, who is gay, says the adoption legislation is a “180-degree change in state policy.” Same-sex adoptions have been legal in Illinois since a 1995 appellate court ruling.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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