Illinois could be the 10th state to legalize gay marriage, but the votes might not be there yet. The issue has passed in the state Senate Executive Committee, it now heads to the full Senate. It's unclear when that vote would take place. But, this gives local supporters and opponents time to get their voices heard.
People on both sides of this argument agree on one thing. Both religion and paper-law were not involved in the creation of marriage.
"The very nature of marriage, the very nature of the complementarity of man and woman, all of this precedes any government." -says Catholic Diocese of Rockford Bishop David Malloy.
Spring Creek United Church of Christ Education Ministry Chairman Bob Black says, "It's not an issue with religion. From the very first marriage that we hear about as a story in the New Testament, when Jesus went there, keep in mind there was no religious component and there was no state component."
Bishop Malloy says the church's stance is not discrimination.
"It's Christ's instruction to us to love every human person to love our brothers and sisters and that means all of them." -he says.
Malloy adds that approving the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act actually hinders the freedom it's supposed to protect.
"There will be pressures to begin to de facto treat both kinds of marriage as if it's all the same anyway. That's something that would be a pressure on our conscience and contrary to our conscience." -says Bishop Malloy.
Supporters say just the opposite.
"No one is compelled in any church to perform any marriage that they don't want to perform or that conflicts with their religious belief, but at the United Church of Christ, not being able to perform those marriages conflicts with our religious belief and teaching." -says Black.
Bishop Malloy sent a letter to Catholic churches in the area, urging them to get in contact with their state representation to stop this possible law. Same-sex marriage supporters are also reaching out to state leaders.
Advocates are pushing for full gay marriage rights just 18 months after the state recognized civil unions.
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