The Illinois General Assembly in Springfield passed multiple bills in its spring session intended to make the state more “welcoming, affirming, and inclusive” to the LGBTQ community, according to a spokesperson for Governor J.B. Pritzker. The governor is expected to sign them into law when they reach his desk.
The new Illinois laws will do several things. House Bill 1596 replaces pronouns in existing laws related to children in the state’s care. These include the word “mother” which becomes “person who gives birth” and the descriptor “biological” becomes “birth” as in “birth family.”
Speaking against the bill, Sen. Jill Tracy (R-Quincy) said, “I gave birth to two boys that weighed over 10 pounds. I think I deserve more dignity that just ‘a person who gave birth.’ I’m a mother.”
HB 2350 was another involving language. In debate Sen. Christine Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) said it “updates some language so that we can be more gender inclusive” by removing gendered language from the state’s insurance code regarding coverage of Pap smears and prostate exams.
Sen. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) opposed the bill, stating, “Folks, if you want to know why kids are confused and why people do crazy stuff, this is exactly why.”
Another, HB 2297, mandates that state agencies track the number of their employees who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming as part of the state’s effort to further workplace diversity. While HB 1591 ensures same-sex marriages performed in Illinois remain legal should the Obergefell v. Hodges decision be overturned by the U. S. Supreme Court, even if the couple resides in another state that prohibits them.
The new laws run counter to biblical teachings and the evangelical practice of “welcoming, but not affirming” individuals with those lifestyles into churches. They create a dilemma for many Christians in Illinois because they “normalize what God has called sin,” said David Smith, Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute.
“The Lord calls Christians to love and accept everyone, but we’re not called to love or accept sin,” Smith said. “To love people means telling them the truth and that means pointing them to the author of truth who is Jesus Christ.”
Meanwhile in their spring sessions, neighboring states such as Indiana passed laws requiring schools to notify parents if their child requests a pronoun or name change. And in Iowa, new laws prevent doctors from preforming gender transition procedures on minors and trans students from entering school bathrooms or changing rooms that don’t match their biological sex.