Religious leaders gather in Springfield in support of civil unions bill
Springfield, IL —
Less than an hour ago, Equality Illinois hosted an interfaith gathering of major religious leaders from across the State in support of civil unions, offering a powerful rebuttal to misinformation spread by conservative groups like the National Organization for Marriage and the Illinois Family Institute.
The assembled religious leaders delivered a strong message of support for civil unions and refuted the bill's opponents regarding its impact on institutions of faith. Attendees included clergy from a wide array of major religious denominations – including, among others, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, Jewish, and United Church of Christ.
"People of faith are among the strongest supporters of LGBT equality," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois
, "because they believe in natural equality of all human beings. This assembly of esteemed leaders from a broad range of religious backgrounds just underscores that fairness is universal and all human beings are equal in the eyes of the Creator."
Shortly after noon, Jacob Meister, Chairman of The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) board, who is in attendance at the Capital in Springfield, told ChicagoPride.com that the House is currently debating a medical marijuana bill and hopefully the Civil Union's bill third reading will take place shortly.
Also in attendance in Springfield are Lambda Legal board member and Cubs owner Laura Ricketts, her partner and their baby.
Civil unions legislation is a moderate measure broadly supported by voters across the entire State. An October 2010 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute of likely Illinois voters shows 67.5% approve of civil unions or marriage for same sex couples, with only 26.5% opposing any recognition.
A vote is still expected Tuesday afternoon
in the Illinois House. If the bill passes it will go directly to the Illinois Senate for concurrence where it is expected to pass. Gov. Quinn has promised to sign the legislation into law.