Wednesday, July 08, 2015


By Nancy Thorner – 

Conservatives are still reeling over the bad decision by the Supreme Court on June 26th, 2015, to redefine marriage, which the Constitution does not give the court authority to do.

Because of the complexity of the marriage decision, a long haul commitment will be necessary, for what was being addressed by the states through the democratic process has now been shut down by five unelected judges who have declared the gay marriage conversation and controversy close.

The situation is similar to what took place after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.  However, after 42 years the pro-life movement is still alive, as Roe was unable to change the truth about unborn children or the Constitution. Most hearkening is that support for the pro-life position is growing, especially among young people, due, in part, to ultrasound.

Just as pro-life advocates persevered after Roe, those who are committed to the truth about marriage — an exclusive union of man and woman — must work to restore our constitutional authority to foster a marriage policy that serves the common good and which reflects the truth.

Granted, such citizen activism might seem like a tall order, even by those who view gay marriage with disfavor, but not to do so allows the judicial usurpation of politics to go uncontested

Five steps to take in wake of bad gay marriage decision

Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation, in his editorial of July 1, “What Do We Do Now”, suggested the five steps outlined below that ordinary citizens might take in the wake of the bad decision by the Supremes that sanctioned gay marriage in every state.   It must never be forgotten that there is strength in numbers to effect positive change.

1)  Elections have consequences: “You can’t afford to sit out this next election. It is very likely that the court will soon take a religious liberty case deciding whether citizens who do not believe in same-sex marriage will have their constitutional rights protected.”

2)  Policy also matters:  “We The People, and our elected representatives in Congress and state legislatures, can make policy that prohibits the government from violating our rights. This is why the First Amendment Defense Act is so vitally important.”

3)  States also matter:  “If you are concerned about faith-based adoption agencies shutting down, or bakers and florists and photographers being fined thousands of dollars simply for declining to celebrate a same-sex wedding, then you need to also be concerned about state and local policy.”

4)  Ideas also matter:  “The judicial redefinition of marriage has no basis in our Constitution, but it didn’t come out of thin air. For the last 50 years, we have not done enough to combat the faulty liberal ideology that has wreaked havoc on America’s families.”

5)  Our lives also matter:  “Even if government policy tells a lie about marriage for a time, we must refuse to believe the lie when it comes to how we live our lives and what we teach our children.”

Most Americans say “yes” to the idea of a tolerant, pluralistic nation with a peaceful coexistence.  But is it right to allow ideologues and activists to sow their seeds of disharmony by having the government coerce those with whom they disagree?  We must work together to protect these cherished American values.  As stated by Jim DeMint:

“It is important that all Americans should remain free to believe and act in the public square based on their beliefs about marriage without fear of government penalty. After all, protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience does not infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms.”

Importance of First Amendment Defense Act

The First Amendment Defense Act is one way of achieving civil peace even amid disagreement. To protect pluralism and the rights of all Americans, of whatever faith they may practice, this act is good policy.  Liberals committed to tolerance should embrace it.

The First Amendment Defense Act (H.R. 2802), introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), “would prevent the federal government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. That protection would extend to tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, contracting and grants.”

Unfortunately, the need for this legislation is real. The Obama administration’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli admitted during Supreme Court oral arguments that religious schools may lose their tax-exempt status for continuing to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman if the Supreme Court redefines marriage.

Those involved in the wedding industry, including photographers, florists, and reception hosts have been hauled into court for declining to use their artistic talents to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. And faith-based adoption agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. have been forced to end foster care and adoption services rather than abandon their belief that children do best with a married mother and father.

To be clear, the First Amendment Defense Act simply protects religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Americans are free to live and love how they choose and everyone should respect the intrinsic dignity of all human beings. The bill simply affirms that the federal government respects the rights of individuals, businesses, and organizations that wish to act in accordance with their beliefs about marriage, without taking away federally funded benefits or services from anyone.

Representative Dold, if committed to tolerance, must embrace H.R. 2802

With this in mind, as a constituent of Representative Bob Dold (R-10th), my question to Congressman Dold is why he has not joined 70 of his colleagues in the House who are co-sponsoring the First Amendment Defense Act (HR 2802-114)?  Illinois’s own, Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) at 34% is a sponsor.  Robert Dold at 22% should be!

Even though Representative Dold was one of five House members who supported the President’s view in  calling on the Supreme Court to extend same-sex marriage nationwide, he should find it unacceptable for the  the federal government to discriminate against any individual or group based on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman.

If a constituent of Representative Dold, let him hear from you.  His D.C. office number is 202-225-4835.   If  your own U.S. representative in not on the list of House co-sponsors of HR 2802-114, let him or her know and get them on board.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

Monday, March 30, 2015

ThornerBy Nancy Thorner –

The debate over same-sex “marriage” has unfolded across America for the past several years. It’s now heating up here in Illinois. In the minds of many who ascribe to Judeo-Christian values, marriage is an institution created by God. Government cannot redefine it. Marriage exists not only for the benefit of couples but also for the care of the next generation. As such the issue of same-sex marriage must be given urgent attention here in Illinois, in spite of Illinois’s recent credit downgrade and its horrendous pension problem which seems insurmountable given that Democrats control policy here in Illinois.

It was just a little over a year ago when the Illinois created civil unions for those in same-sex relationships by passing the “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act”, forcing Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois.

 Strong forces including the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House and Mayor of Chicago are at work to move a same-sex “marriage” bill through the Illinois General Assembly.  President Obama has also gotten involved by asking legislators to pass a same-sex marriage bill.

The counterfeit “marriage” bill currently being proposed in the Illinois General Assembly (HB 110 and SB 110) would change the legal definition of marriage to accommodate those of the same sex who wish to “marry” one another and would likewise affect our children and our religious freedom.

The bill is disingenuously titled the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.”  Its chief sponsors, State Representative Gregg Harris (D-Chicago) and Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) vowed and did reintroduce the bill almost immediately upon the start of the new General Assembly and are on a fast track to introduce the bill in tandem. Time ran out for Harris and Steans to bring the bill up for a full vote during the 97th General Assembly’s lame duck legislative session.

Senator Steans hopes Illinois will become the tenth state to approve the recognition of gay and lesbian marriages.  Nine state and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.  Washington, Maine and Maryland approved same-sex marriage ballot measures in the November elections.

Herein lies three very obvious reasons why same-sex marriage must be defeated:

1.  Same-sex couples already enjoy all the same rights and benefits as married couples in Illinois under the civil unions law of 2011.

2.  Children need both a mom and a dad.  Marriage exists for the benefit of children.  Social science research and thousands of years of history show that children do best when raised by their married mom and dad.

3.  There will be significant consequences if marriage is redefined in Illinois.  In other states that have redefined marriage, there have been profound consequences for those who express or act on their belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman.

The following comes from a January 6th story written by Cardinal George in the Chicago archdiocese paper, “Catholic New World”:

“The nature of marriage is not a religious question.  Marriage comes to us from nature.” . . . “The State protects marriage because it is essential to family and to the common good of society.  But neither church nor State invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.  Nature and Nature’s God, to use the expression in the Declaration of Independence of our country, gives the human species two mutually complementary sexes, able to transmit life through what the law has hitherto recognized as a marital union.”

As with many bills, often what is hidden within the language of the bill does not become evident to the public (and legislators) until after the law is passed, i.e., Obamacare.  Language in the proposed marriage bill would require that all churches make their property available for same-sex “marriages” even if it is in violation of a church’s religious beliefs.  Language states that if a church allows facility rentals or receives “a public benefit” it must make its facility available for a same-sex “marriage” or the celebration thereof or be open to a lawsuit.  Understood is that every church has a tax exempt status and/or is allowed a “property tax exemption” under Illinois law, which is a “public benefit.”

The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), executive director David E. Smith, is sponsoring a Defend Marriage Lobby Day on Wednesday, February 20th from 10:30 AM – 1:30 AM. when Illinois families from around the state will take a stand “for protecting marriage, religious freedom, parental rights, and the innocence of our children!”  Suggested by David Smith is that churches organize to support this lobbying day to defend marriage.  Check this website for more information about the IFI-sponsored Defend Marriage Lobby Day.  A downloadable flyer is also available for distribution.

If you are unable to join the IFI in its Defend Marriage Lobby Day where legislators can be addressed in person, it is important to call your Illinois senate and house representatives to vote ‘NO’ to HB 110 and SB 110.

From Mark 10:6-9:

“But from the beginning of creation,
God made them male and female.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and to be joined to his wife,
and the two shall  become one flesh;
so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
let not man separate.”

Published initially at Illinois Review on Wednesday, January 30.

With the next General Assembly scheduled to be sworn in on Tuesday, January 9th, Illinois gay marriage backers and legislative sponsors of the bill — Rep. Gregory Harris (D-Chicago) and state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) — are hopeful of passing HB 5270 (Same-Sex Marriage) during the Lame Duck Session before the January 9th seating of the new legislature.

During a conference call with reporters on December 13, Rep. Gregory Harris told of his informal survey of fellow Democratic House legislators showing that opposition to the gay marriage idea had dropped significantly since the Nov. 6 elections after voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington State sanctioned gay marriage.

Nine other states and the District of Columbia now have legalized same-sex marriage, either by legislative or court action. According to Harris, the public is coming around in starting to recognize the gay marriage issue as a variation on “the Golden Rule: We should treat all families equally.” Accordingly, Harris perceives that a “yes” vote is now “within striking distance,” as some lawmakers who had been opposed are now taking a second look. Only a simple majority is needed for passage in both chambers. Both Harris and Steans claim their measure will include an exemption for religious groups that would allow them to conduct or not conduct weddings, as they prefer, involving gay men and lesbians.

It should be no surprise that Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel considers passing a same-sex marriage bill a top legislative priority. It matters not that Illinois already sanctions civil unions that allows same-sex couples the same general legal rights as married couples. At the time of the sanctioning, one of the present day sponsors of HB 5170, Sen. Heather Steans, already thinking ahead, said “all Illinoisans now need more than ‘second-class status’ when it comes to marriage.”

Accordingly to an article in Crain’s Chicago Business, the pro side is going to great lengths to rally support for gay marriage. Hired was a firm founded by top presidential adviser David Axelrod (ASGK Public Strategies) to help supporters reach out to the media, organizations and potential supporters, including corporate officials. A pro side group has also been organized to push for gay marriage, “Illinois Unites for Marriage,” to counter the “Coalition to Protect Children and Marriage.”

David E. Smith, executive director of Illinois Family Institute, cited a recent media report extolling the news that 260 clergy — mostly from the Chicago area — had signed a petition in support of redefining marriage. Given that Illinois has over 1,000 Roman Catholic churches, over a l,000 Southern Baptist churches, more than 500 Missouri Synod Lutheran churches, and thousands of other churches of various denominations, all whom officially and publicly acknowledge that God ordained marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and many with more than one clergyman on staff, 260 petition signers is a paltry number of ministers willing to distort and misuse the word of God.

Lobbying is likewise a very effective medium in convincing state legislators to pass gay marriage legislation. Lobbying techniques that worked in Massachusetts — the 1st state to sanction gay marriage — are now being applied to other state, and yes, even here in Illinois.

Talking points include:

1. Use lots of emotion.

2. Paint a picture of this being a fight against injustice and discrimination, with lots of Civil Rights imagery.

3. Use emotional personal stories (well-coached if possible).

4. Avoid discussing the details of the bill what it would actually do (i.e., in schools, businesses, etc.), but if you do, speak in generalities.

5. Come across as courteous, rational, and well-meaning.

6. Portray as the good side for civil rights and freedom, versus the unenlightened bad side (which helps victimize people and promotes discrimination).

Dr. Robert Vanden Bosch, Executive Director of Concerned Christian Ministries, muses in his December 2012, Vol. 12:11 Newsletter as to the difficulty of getting people to Springfield to lobby against same-sex marriage to protect God-ordained marriage between a man and a woman, when hundreds of people gathered for days to lobby driver’s licenses for undocumented workers. Bosch’s conclusion: “People have assumed that the change in the marriage law will not affect the average person.”

To understand the impact of same-sex marriage, we only have to look at Massachusetts. The aftermath brings understanding to what Illinois could face should HB 5170 becomes law.

Published initially at Illinois Review on Friday, January 3rd, 2013.