Equality Illinois urges House passage of Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act
Chicago, IL —
A new statewide poll released Monday--just one day before the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality--shows a dramatic majority of registered likely voters support for the freedom to marry in Illinois.
A strong majority of 52 percent of Illinois voters support legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples, and the figure grew to 54 percent support when pollsters shared information about the summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned federal restrictions against recognizing same-sex marriages.In consideration of the majority support, Equality Illinois has urged the Illinois House to approve the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act during its fall session, which begins on Tuesday."With Illinois same-sex couples suffering because they cannot access federal benefits available to married couples, the time is now in the fall legislative session for the House to complete its unfinished business on the marriage bill," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. "With these poll results, there is certainly no political reason why representatives shouldn't pass it in overwhelming numbers. There are simply no excuses left."Some of the most notable majorities were among women, minority voters, Catholic voters and younger voters. Voters who identified as Catholic favored the freedom to marry by a 2-to-1 margin, and actually offered more support for marriage equality when told that some public figures, including Catholic bishops, oppose marriage between same-sex couples.African American voters favored the law by a 55 percent to 36 percent majority. Hispanic voters supported the freedom to marry 63 percent to 29 percent opposed, a level of support that increased to 70 percent when the Supreme Court decision was explained.Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans, commissioned the poll of likely voters. It was taken October 8-10, 2013 by Fako & Associates of Lisle, IL, a national public opinion research firm, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.94 percent."We expect every House member who has expressed support publicly or privately for marriage equality or who has been leaning in favor of it to vote 'aye,'" added Cherkasov. "This is the time for courage and leadership, and not political calculations. And those who stand in the way of the clear majority of Illinoisans will be held accountable by their constituents."The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act cleared the Illinois Senate on February 14, but stalled in the House on May 31. If approved by the House during the veto session, the bill would then go back to the Senate for another vote.Marriage rights activists have planned a march on the capitol for Noon on Oct. 22, which is the start of the fall veto session. There is no cost to attend and members of the public are welcome. For more information, visit www.marchonspringfield.org.Related Coverage:Gov. Patrick Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin to open March on SpringfieldRock the March features local talent in support of marriage equality in Illinois Bishop Carlton Pearson to deliver keynote at March on SpringfieldMarch on Springfield speakers highlight broad coalition working for marriage equality