250 Rabbis, pastors and bishops call on Illinois to make same-sex marriage legal

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A group of 250 rabbis, pastors, bishops and other leaders representing liberal and reform Christian and Jewish groups have called on the state of Illinois to pass the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act that would make same-sex marriage legal.

State Representative Greg Harris and Senator Heather Steans, both Democrats from Chicago hope to answer Governor Pat Quinn’s wish that he can sign into law equal marriage as early as January.

In an open letter the clergy men and women who form part of the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign said:-

“We represent people of faith from a variety of communities across our state, and we strongly support the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. 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 Protection and Marriage Fairness Act protects religious freedom and guarantees that all faiths will decide which marriages should be consecrated and solemnized within their

“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.

We want to promote the common good – that which is best for individuals, couples, families, children, and society. As people of faith and as citizens of Illinois, we ask you to stand for freedom for all of our citizens and support the freedom to marry. It’s not only a matter of equality – it’s a matter of conscience and justice.”

Earlier this month, 150 Church of England vicars said they’d defy proposed bans on them performing same-sex marriages in England and Wales once the law is changed to make same-sex marriage legal.