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IL Lawmakers to Vote on Equality Issues

President Barack Obama signed an order establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls in 2009. (
President Barack Obama signed an order establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls in 2009. (
May 14, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Human rights dvocates are hoping legislation that would advance the voices of women and the LGBT community will make it as far as Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk, and if it does, they're urging him to sign the bills.

Rep. Anna Moeller is co-author of SB 3249, which would require lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history to be taught in public schools.

The Elgin Democrat says it means Illinois students would learn about the significant historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people.

Critics cite religious freedom issues in opposing the bill, and say adding to the curriculum should be up to local school districts.

Moeller maintains the bill does that.

"School districts would have flexibility in how to implement and to teach these histories,” she explains. “They would be taught in grade-appropriate manners and at little or no cost to school districts."

The legislation has been approved in the Senate and is up for a vote in the House.

Moeller is also urging passage this week of Senate Bill 3402 and House Bill 5544, which would create the Illinois Council on Women and Girls.

Moeller says the idea is to break down the social and economic barriers that are holding women back, by giving them a louder voice in the development of public policy.

She adds that the legislation is modeled after the White House Council on Women and Girls that President Barack Obama created, but which was later dismantled by President Donald Trump.

"In response to that, we are moving forward with this council to ensure that Illinois continues to be a place where women are empowered and heard and women's issues are taken seriously."

If approved, the Illinois Council on Women and Girls would be created to advise the governor and the General Assembly on policy issues.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL