An anti-gay group from Rockford, Illinois has called on Francis Cardinal George, the head of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and the Archbishop of Chicago, to excommunicate Governor Pat Quinn over his support of marriage equality.
"If Cardinal George and all the Illinois Bishops declare that any politician who claims to be Catholic, including Gov. Quinn, [who] votes for a homosexual marriage bill would be automatically and publicly excommunicated, this would stand a very good chance of protecting marriage," the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative said in a statement
Bills that would grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry are expected to be introduced in the Illinois House and Senate. After a new Illinois General Assembly was sworn in today, Democrats now have veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate and advocates believe legislation, known as the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, will likely pass. Gov. Quinn has said he would sign the bill into law.
The Catholic church has already rolled out a campaign against marriage equality. In a letter sent to priests on Jan. 1, Cardinal George called gay marriage unnatural.
"Civil laws that establish 'same sex marriage' create a legal fiction," George wrote. "The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible."
If approved, Illinois would become the 10th state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.