Hundreds of clergy on Sunday voiced support for legalizing gay marriage in Illinois.

According to the Chicago Tribune, more than 250 mostly Chicago-area clergy have endorsed a marriage equality bill introduced in February and expected to be debated next month during the General Assembly's lame-duck session.

The rabbis and pastors announced a declaration in support of marriage rights for gay couples.

“Standing on these beliefs [of faith, justice and compassion], we think that it is morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same-sex couples,” the clergy said in their declaration. “There can be no justification for the law treating people differently on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Chief sponsors of the bill earlier this month signaled that they have sufficient support to get the bill to Governor Pat Quinn's desk. Quinn has said he looks forward to signing the bill into law.

Opponents have also began to organize, forming The Coalition to Protect Children and Marriage, which includes a who's who of Illinois social conservative groups, including the Eagle Forum of Illinois, Catholic Citizens of Illinois, the Thomas More Law Center, the Illinois Family-Institute and the Family-Pac.

Penny Pullen, president of the Eagle Forum of Illinois, said her group opposes marriage equality because “Only a marriage of heterosexual persons can produce children and secure the future of society.” She added that children must be protected over “the personal gratification of even one single adult.”