March 16, 2009

House Bill 178: Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act

Rep. Greg Harris

Creates the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. Makes legislative findings: same-sex couples are denied equal access to civil marriage benefits; the current marriage law is discriminatory and harms same-sex couples; and there is no compelling interest or rational basis to deny same-sex couples those benefits.

Provides that the Act does not interfere with any religious beliefs about marriage. Provides that the Act’s purpose is to provide eligible same-sex and opposite-sex couples with the same treatment as those in a civil marriage. Provides that parties to a marriage of the same sex are included in the terms “spouse”, “immediate family”, “dependent”, and related matters.

Provides that domestic relations, probate, and family law shall apply equally to parties to a marriage of the same sex. Provides that benefits apply equally to same-sex marriages in these areas: causes of actions related to spousal status, for wrongful death, emotional distress, and loss of consortium; adoption; family leave; group insurance for state and municipal employees; accident and health insurance protections tied to former spouses and dependents; and taxes and tax deductions based on marital status.

Provides that a civil marriage is prohibited between siblings or between an uncle and a nephew or an aunt and a niece. Amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Provides that nothing in the Act should be construed to interfere or regulate any religious practice concerning marriage and no religion is required to solemnize a marriage to which it objects. Provides that a marriage is between two persons (rather than, a man and a woman) licensed, solemnized, and registered under the Act. Effective immediately.

1/14/2009(House) First Reading
1/14/2009(House) Referred to Rules Committee
2/4/2009(House) Added chief co-sponsors: Representatives Deborah Mell, Sarah Feigenholtz, Constance A. Howard, Harry Osterman
2/4/2009(House) Assigned to Youth and Family Committee
3/13/2009(House) Rule 19(a) / Re-referred to Rules Committee

This bill failed to pass, and is now dead.

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.

Parental rights are a recognized constitutional right despite the fact that they are not explicitly stated in the Constitution. It is a fair question to ask: if they are implied rights rather than explicit rights, what is the source of parental rights?

Here is what the Supreme Court said in 2000 in the case of Troxel v. Granville:

“Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course.”

Thus, you can see that parental rights are based on “western civilization concepts of the family.”

When those concepts are no longer the legal definition of the family in this nation, then the foundation upon which parental rights are based is completely removed.

In a world which widely embraces the notions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is fanciful to believe that any other theory will arise to replace the traditions of western civilization as a basis for parental rights.

Therefore, HSLDA will continue to fight against same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in western civilization. This is an attack on parental rights. This is a battle the homeschooling movement cannot afford to lose.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History