A coalition of religious groups are calling on Illinois lawmakers to reject a proposed gay marriage law.

An effort to approve the bill during the General Assembly's lame-duck session, which includes outgoing lawmakers, came to a sudden stop on Thursday as Senator Heather Steans, a Democrat from Chicago, called off a vote in the Senate at the last minute. Steans said three supporters, two Democrats and a Republican, were not present to vote during the chamber's brief 2-day session. She pledged the fight would continue in the next legislative session, which begins Wednesday.

The coalition of faith leaders warned lawmakers that the proposed marriage reform falls short because it does not exempt individuals.

“The ongoing attempts to alter the definition of marriage in civil law are full of serious danger, primarily by degrading the cultural understanding of marriage to an emotional bond between any two adults and by giving rise to a profound interference with the exercise of religious freedom for those persons and religious institutions whose faith and doctrine recognize the spiritual foundation of marriage as an authorized union between a man and a woman,” the leaders wrote in a letter.

“Some claim that as long as religious ministers are not forced to preside over same-sex 'marriages' the principle of religious freedom, as secured in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment is protected. However, the notion that the exercise of religious freedom is confined to the interior of churches, synagogues, temples or mosques or what one does on Holy Days is wrong and dangerous. The freedom of religion also extends to the ministries of religious organizations and to the individual conscience. Thus, the real peril: if marriage is redefined in civil law, individuals and religious organizations – regardless of deeply held beliefs – will be compelled to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their lives, ministries and operations. Compulsion of this nature is a violation of personal conscience and of religious liberty.”

The letter is signed by leaders in the Anglican Church of North America, the Catholic Conference of Illinois, The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.