Over 250 pastors and rabbis from LGBT-friendly denominations throughout Illinois, but mostly in Chicago, have signed an open letter to legislators endorsing a gay marriage bill scheduled for review in January.
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune:
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.
Spurred by the four marriage equality victories this November, state Rep. Greg Harris and state Sen. Heather Steans will call for a vote on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act when lawmakers reconvene in Springfield early next year.
Same-sex civil unions became legal last year in Illinois with the support of Gov. Pat Quinn, who hopes the gay marriage bill will be pushed through the General Assembly.
Catholics and pastors from predominately black and conservative congregations were largely absent from the list of co-signing clergymen. The Catholic Conference of Illinois, which represents nearly 4 million Catholics in the state, will send their own letter opposing the proposed legislation in January.