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.