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Anti-gay groups form coalition against marriage equality in Illinois

Illinois gay marriage bill up in January

Chicago, IL — A group of anti-gay organizations have created a coalition to fight marriage equality in Illinois, after an announcement last week that lawmakers would push for a vote on same-sex marriage in January.

Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), along with two other openly gay representatives, Deb Mell (D-Chicago) and Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), introduced the marriage bill in February. Harris last week said, "The timing is right for us to push this." Governor Pat Quinn (D-Illinois) said that he hopes to sign the marriage bill into law.

The "Coalition to Protect Children and Marriage", announced on Tuesday, includes the Illinois Family Institute, Eagle Forum of Illinois, Abstinence and Marriage Partnership, Illinois Citizens for Life PAC, Lake County Right to Life, Concerned Christian Americans and Family-Pac.

Paul Caprio, director of Family-Pac, said that the coalition would use the resources of those organizations to lobby against same-sex marriage in Illinois.

"These are just the same-old tired anti-gay groups and individuals that have fought against gay protections for years," said Rick Garcia, Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project and Senior Policy Advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. "They have lost in the past and they will lose again."

Some of the groups in the anti-gay coalition are faith-based, but Garcia noted over 300 clergy have endorsed equal marriage. "Polling shows that Illinois is ready for it," he added. 

A Public Policy Polling poll released earlier this month showed Illinois voters think same-sex marriage should be allowed by a 47/42 margin. In May a poll by Victoria Research showed majority support for same-sex marriage at 52 percent, a first in Illinois. 

The Windy City Times reported the Catholic Conference of Illinois, the policy arm of the Catholic Church in Illinois, though opposed to marriage equality is not involved with the coalition. 

If approved, Illinois would become the 10th state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

Related: Bar Association backs gay marriage in Illinois

Related: Illinois Catholics campaign to kill gay marriage bill, say it 'goes against nature'
 
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