* From yesterday’s debate…
“This bill is the worst in the U.S. in protecting religious liberty,” said Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton. “It does not have the religious protections most of us agree should happen.” […]
[Rep. Greg Harris] said the bill as written specifically immunizes religious leaders from having to perform same-sex marriages and also exempts religious facilities from hosting them.
Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said that didn’t go far enough.
“Why are religious rights only granted to priests, pastors and rabbis?” Reis said. “What about our rights? This is about individual religious rights.” […]
Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, said biblical teachings should determine how someone votes on the issue.
“The Constitution has always looked to the scriptures for guidance,” Kay said. “I’ve heard nothing today about the scriptures. All I’ve heard about is human rights. My conviction is that this is wrong, but my conviction is scripture is right.”
* Also from the debate…
State Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, who also voted against the bill, said the Bible defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, and no government has the authority to undo that.
“Even if the legal definition of the word ‘marriage’ was changed to include homosexual couples, those couples will not ever be truly married in God’s eyes,” she said.
State Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican, described meeting with a religious leader who urged him to vote “yes” and called him “homophobic” when he disagreed.
“It shows the tenor of the debate,” Harris said.
He said he rejects the suggestion people who vote against same-sex marriage don’t care about civil rights.
“Are those black ministers who represent so many African-American congregations … around this state, are they bigots who don’t care about civil rights? I think not,” Harris said.
* The Sun-Times caught up with Cardinal George and Bishop Trotter…
“It’s no enormous surprise. There was a lot of effort placed into passage of this legislation. I think it’s bad legislation, but we’ve lived with bad laws before. It’ll make some people happy … but it will also, I think, change the nature of our society over a period of time,” Cardinal Francis George told the Chicago Sun-Times after speaking at Holy Name Cathedral. […]
Bishop Larry D. Trotter, who helped lead opposition to the bill, applauded legislators “who stood up for God.”
“Regardless of the passage of SB10, we will always believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Trotter said. “Yet we will still love the members of the LGBT community. We pray God’s grace, mercy and blessings over the state of Illinois and the United States of America.”
* From the Catholic Conference of Illinois…
Today’s decision by Illinois lawmakers to change the definition of marriage not only goes against the common consensus of the human race – which understands that nature tells us that marriage is the union of one man and one woman – but it also undermines an institution that is the cornerstone of a healthy society. The optimal condition in which to raise children is a home that includes both a mother and father, since women and men are not interchangeable.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois is deeply disappointed that members of the General Assembly chose to redefine what is outside of its authority: a natural institution like marriage. We remain concerned about the very real threats to religious liberty that are at stake with the passage of this bill.
* Thomas More Society…
“While we believe it regrettable that Illinois legislators have now purported to redefine marriage as something different from the union of one man and one woman, we are at least pleased and reassured to hear that legislators insisted during today’s floor debate in the House of Representatives that Illinois’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other constitutional and statutory guaranties of Illinois citizens’ religious liberties remain in full force and effect.
We will do our part to insure that those fundamental religious liberties are given robust and unstinting protection. The free speech and free exercise clauses of our First Amendment remain at the core of our constitutional order, and no law nor any public official may lawfully coerce anyone to deny or disavow his or her religious beliefs, or refrain from professing those beliefs in the public square, or to go against those beliefs in practice.
This is still a free country, and Thomas More Society stands ready to do its utmost to keep it free,” said Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society.
* But religion was also cited by the proponents…
Advocates soon received additional help from Pope Francis, who warned that the Catholic Church could lose its way by focusing too much on social stances, including opposition to homosexuality.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” Francis said in July.
The comments sparked a wave of soul-searching by several Catholic lawmakers who had battled to reconcile their religious beliefs with their sworn duty to represent their constituents who were increasingly supportive of gay rights even as Cardinal Francis George remained opposed.
“As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people,” said Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, a Democrat from Aurora who voted for the bill after spending much of the summer undecided.
House Speaker Michael Madigan also cited the pope’s comments in explaining his support for the measure.
“For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?” the speaker said.