Auxiliary Bishop George Rassas of the Archdiocese of Chicago today issued a statement in his role as a board member of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, saying he was "distressed and disappointed" over Rep. Ed Sullivan's intended change of vote regarding redefinition of marriage legislation.
Senate Bill 10 seeks to change the state's legal definition of marriage from "between a man and a woman" to "between two persons." It has previously passed the Senate, and is the center of a contentious battle in the House.
Media reported yesterday that Sullivan, a Republican from Mundelein, had changed his mind from opposing SB 10 to supporting it. Sullivan's district lies within Vicariate I, which is overseen by Bishop Rassas.
In his statement, Bishop Rassas notes that "Representative Sullivan had indicated for some time that he understood the gravity of this issue and was prepared to oppose Senate Bill 10."
He later notes that religious freedom is at stake in the legislation.
"Representative Sullivan mistakenly claims that Senate Bill 10 contains strong religious freedom protections. In fact, the bill allows only meager protections for what happens within the walls of select religious facilities. It offers very limited protections to religiously affiliated nonprofits, which are extensions of religious missions, or to individual conscience – the right of any man or woman to live by their own religious beliefs in every avenue of life. Every state that has redefined marriage by legislation has offered greater religious liberty protections than does Senate Bill 10."