The Catholic Conference of Illinois is
calling on lawmakers to reject a bill that would recognize gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions.
The legislation, which is sponsored by
openly gay Illinois State Representative Greg Harris, passed out of
committee last spring. Governor
Pat Quinn has said he wants to sign the bill into law this year.
Several high-profile Chicago mayoral
candidates have also endorsed the bill, including
former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former U.S.
Senator Carol Moseley Braun.
a statement released on Monday, Cardinal Francis George, the head
of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and the outgoing president of
the Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he's opposed to the measure.
“Everyone has a right to marry, but
no one has the right to change the nature of marriage,” he wrote.
“Marriage is what it is and always has been, no matter what a
legislature decides to do; however, the public understanding of
marriage will be negatively affected by passage of a bill that
ignores the natural fact that sexual complementarity is at the core
“The enactment of marriage-like
benefits in civil union legislation will intensify the legal attack
on marriage,” he added.
Insiders say the bill could be put up
for a vote as early as next week.