Wednesday, Jan 02, 2013

Pastoral leaders representing more than 1,700 faith communities in Illinois – parishes, congregations, churches and Friday prayer locations and Masjids – have signed a letter sent to Illinois lawmakers, urging them to safeguard both marriage and religious freedom by rejecting any legislative efforts to redefine marriage

The faith leaders note that traditional marriage “is the natural order embracing the complementary physical, emotional and spiritual design of men and women.”

They also warn that simply not being forced to preside over same-sex marriages does nothing to protect religious freedom as guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The proposed legislation falls far short of protecting the rights of churches and individuals to freely exercise their religious beliefs and abide their consciences, they note.

“If marriage is redefined in civil law, individuals and religious organizations – regardless of deeply held beliefs – will be compelled to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their lives, ministries and operations,” they write.

All 177 state lawmakers will receive a copy of the letter personally addressed to him/her. Read the entire letter here. Read the Spanish translation of the letter hereRead the press release here.

State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, have announced they would seek passage of legislation during this month’s lame-duck session that changes the definition of marriage currently set in state law from "between a man and a woman" to "between 2 persons."

The signees of the letter represent a diversity of faiths, including the Anglican Church in North America, the Catholic Church, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, as well as individual Baptist and Evangelical churches.