We represent people of faith from a variety of communities across our state, and we strongly support the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. We dedicate our lives to fostering faith and compassion, and we work daily to promote justice and fairness for all. Standing on these beliefs, we think that it is morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same-sex couples. There can be no justification for the law treating people differently on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We accept our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and recognize that their families need equal recognition and protections. We believe all Illinois couples should have the same civil protections and urge our public officials to support measures to achieve equality.
There are differences among our many religious traditions. Some recognize and bless same-sex unions, and some do not. The important thing is that the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act protects religious freedom and guarantees that all faiths will decide which marriages should be consecrated and solemnized within their tradition.
The sacred writings and traditions that we follow carry the messages of love, justice and inclusion. The very basis of marriage is to protect the family, strengthen our communities and advocate compassion. No couple should be excluded from that.
We want to promote the common good — that which is best for individuals, couples, families, children, and society. As people of faith and as citizens of Illinois, we ask you to stand for freedom for all of our citizens and support the freedom to marry. It’s not only a matter of equality — it’s a matter of conscience and justice.
That’s awesome. The letter urges the state legislature to support marriage equality, even if individual churches may not want to solemnize same-sex marriages (which they have a right not to do).
The Rev. Kim L. Beckmann of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who lives in the Chicago area, said she was drawn into the movement “as my gay and lesbian parishioners were welcomed into our congregation.”
“I have participated in blessings of these unions for longer than we’ve even been talking about marriage,” she said. “I’m thrilled to take this step.”
The New York Times, though, had to get a voice of opposition to all this, so they went straight to the bottom of the barrel:
Laurie Higgins, cultural analyst for the Illinois Family Institute, which opposes same-sex marriage, criticized the branding of the issue as a matter of “equality” and “inclusion.”
“All adults, regardless of their sexual proclivities, are entitled to participate in the sexually complementary institution of marriage,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Those who identify as homosexual choose not to participate in it.”The letter, Ms. Higgins said, “is signed quite obviously by faith leaders who have adopted radical, ahistorical, heretical theological views.”
“Their views are informed not by careful exegesis, but by personal desire and political convictions,” she said.
If marriage is “a public institution,” she said, “why is the government involved? The government has no interest in whether two people love each other. The government interest is in what best serves the future of any country — and what’s best for the future of the country is what’s best for children, and what best serves children is to be raised by their biological parents.”
Take *that*, people who adopt children, infertile couples who can’t have kids, single parents who do an amazing job, gay couples in a loving relationship, and everyone else on Higgins’ list-of-people-who-won’t-be-sending-her-a-Christmas-card. When it comes to raising children, you’re all inferior to straight couples with biological children. Because every single one of those families is automatically perfect.
You have to appreciate her twisted logic, too: Everyone can already get married… it’s not my fault if homosexuals don’t want to marry people they’re not attracted to.
IFI is part of a nine-group coalition against equal rights. That coalition includes:
- The Catholic Citizens of Illinois (Bill Donohue serves on their Advisory Board)
- The Eagle Forum of Illinois (Their mission includes exposing the “radical feminists”)
- The Thomas More Society (An anti-abortion group… to paraphrase George Carlin, They should be natural allies! Who has fewer abortions than homosexuals?!)
- Abstinence and Marriage Partnership (Again, they ought to be natural allies; who has less sex than married people?!)
- Illinois Citizens for Life PAC (Someone has to explain to me why a strictly anti-abortion group is suddenly involved in a coalition against gay marriage. Or could the coalition not find any other “family” groups that oppose marriage?)
- Lake County Right to Life (Ditto)
- Concerned Christian Americans (Their website has a “fatal error”… which basically describes the way Christianity’s going if its leaders keep supporting bigoted policies against LGBT people)
- Family-Pac (Unoriginal name; completely useless website)
On a side note, I suspect all of these groups are struggling to find younger members. As well as members who are (*ahem*) less pale.
Oh, who am I kidding, they’re probably all struggling to find members, period. And that’s why they’re fighting a losing battle.
In any case, here’s hoping our legislators do the right thing next month. They can’t seem to do anything else worth a damn, but this should be an easy vote for all of them to cast.