The Thomas More Society, a national not-for-profit law firm that advocates for life, marriage, and religious liberty, has written a letter to the Illinois General Assembly warning lawmakers of the consequences associated with passing a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
“This bill is titled ‘The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.’ But the alleged religious freedom protections are slim to none,” Peter Breen, Executive Director & Legal Counsel of Thomas Moore Society and one of the writers to the letter, explained in a phone interview with The Christian Post on Friday.
“There is no serious protection for religious freedom concerns in this bill. Even with strong protections, we would not be in favor of the bill, but at this point we identified that in the 2010 civil union bill, that bill included a limited religious freedom protection that did cover social service agencies that allows them to perform private adoptions and the like.”
Illinois’s state Senate Committee voted 8-5 in favor of same-sex marriage on Thursday, but with key lawmakers missing, the Senate decided to adjourn a full vote on the issue until the body reconvenes on Tuesday for a special session, Reuters reported.
President Barack Obama’s home state began offering civil union partnerships in June 2011, but the “Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” seeks to grant gay and lesbian couples a full marriage license. Currently, nine U.S states, including the District of Columbia, perform same-sex marriage.
Illinois’s House and State both have a Democratic majority, with the vote on same-sex marriage largely divided among party lines, but Breen insists that the vote is still close.
“At this point, we don’t see that they have the votes to pass. However, it is close. We are working very hard on that. Our role at the Thomas Moore Society is to help provide education, and some of the legal issues that will be caused if the legislature adopts the same-sex marriage proposal that is before it,” the Executive Director told CP.
In a detailed letter addressed to the state’s General Assembly, the Thomas More Society outlines two of the biggest dangers they see with lawmakers passing the same-sex marriage law.
On one hand, the organization says there is a danger that supporters of traditional marriage will be called bigots and discriminators for their stance, since gay marriage will now be official government policy.
The Thomas More Society also says that Catholic charities and faith-based adoption agencies opposed to helping gay and lesbian couples adopt children may lose the protection that they received in the 2010 civil union bill, which allowed them to continue operating regardless of their stance on adoption and homosexual couples.
Breen explained that under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, churches would be protected from being forced to perform same-sex marriages even if the bill passes.
“At the same time, the real issues arise not necessarily inside the four walls of the church, but when you are dealing with adoption issues, dealing with your Christian and Catholic schools, with your service organizations such as Catholic Charities and Evangelical family agencies,” Breen added.
Thomas Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society, explained in the letter that the only benefit to same-sex couples from the passing of the bill would be a change in wording from “civil union license” to “marriage license,” which the Society says is “a vanity not worth the disenfranchisement of large segments of the state’s population. The current law already provides same-sex couples the rights of married couples.”
Religious leaders in Illinois have expressed opposing views regarding the coming vote.
More from Stoyan Zaimov/Christian Post
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