Cardinal George, speaking in his Chicago home, December 2012 // Richard A. Chapman, Sun-Times
SPRINGFIELD-A coalition of religious leaders led by Cardinal Francis George urged Illinois lawmakers Wednesday to reject a push that aims to legalize marriage between gay and lesbian couples, arguing that redefining marriage poses "serious danger" to society.
"The ongoing attempts to alter the definition of marriage in civil law are full of serious danger, primarily by degrading the cultural understanding of marriage to an emotional bond between any two adults and by giving rise to a profound interference with the exercise of religious freedom for those persons and religious institutions whose faith and doctrine recognize the spiritual foundation of marriage as an authorized union between a man and a woman," George and other religious leaders wrote in a letter to lawmakers (embedded below). It comes a day after Cardinal George released a similar letters to Illinois members of the Catholic church.
The lobbying drive by the head of Chicago's Roman Catholic community and leaders of the Council of Islamic Organization of Greater Chicago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Lutheran Church MIssouri Synod and the Anglican Church in North America comes as supporters were thwarted in their bid to move gay-marriage legislation out of the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday.
Supporters had sought to waive a Senate rule that required a six-day waiting period for the legislation but fell two votes shy in their effort. They vowed to find a parliamentary way around that requirement and possibly seek a committee vote Thursday.
Despite the setback, state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), the lead Senate sponsor of the measure, predicted she has enough votes to pass the legalization out of her legislative chamber by a thin majority.
Asked if she has 30 votes lined up for the measure, Steans told the Sun-Times, "I do."
Pressed on how close the vote would be, she quipped, "It's not going to be unanimous."
President Barack Obama entered the fray with a weekend pronouncement from the White House that he is supportive of Illinois' effort to legalize gay marriages, but Steans said she is not aware that the president is personally making phone calls to any wavering senators.