05 November 2013

UPDATES (5): Illinois House of Reps approves redefinition of marriage, restricts religious liberty

In what will certainly prove to be a regrettable day in the history of the state of Illinois, the House of Representatives voted to approve SB10, the misnamed Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in an attempt to redefine marriage:
The House voted 61-54 legalize same-sex marriage less than six months after sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, put off a vote because he said he didn’t have the votes to pass it. The bill needed 60 votes to pass the House.
Harris changed Senate Bill 10 before Tuesday’s vote, delaying its effective date until June 1. That meant the bill needed 60 votes to pass the House on Tuesday instead of 71. It is also the reason why the Senate had to vote on the bill again after passing it on Valentine’s Day [more].
In response to the vote, the Catholic Conference of Illinois said,
Today’s decision by Illinois lawmakers to change the definition of marriage not only goes against the common consensus of the human race – which understands that nature tells us that marriage is the union of one man and one woman – but it also undermines an institution that is the cornerstone of a healthy society. The optimal condition in which to raise children is a home that includes both a mother and father, since women and men are not interchangeable.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois is deeply disappointed that members of the General Assembly chose to redefine what is outside of its authority: a natural institution like marriage. We remain concerned about the very real threats to religious liberty that are at stake with the passage of this bill.
At least some of the representatives recognize the serious threats to religious liberty this legislation poses.  The State Journal-Register quotes Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) as saying, "This bill is the worst in the U.S. in protecting religious liberty. It does not have the religious protections most of us agree should happen."

Update 1: You can view the roll call here to learn how your representative voted, either in favor of religious liberty or against it.

Update 2: The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that legislators from West-central Illinois "followed will of their districts in opposing same-sex marriage."  What a novel idea for a representative republic.

Update 3: Robert Gilligan, the executive director of the Illinois Catholic Conference, has written an editorial in which he points out the protections for religious liberty not included in the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

Update 4: Governor Quinn plans to sign the bill this month. Will his faith motivate him to sign this one, as well?

Update 5: Governor Quinn will sign the bill November 20th.

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