CHICAGO - The Chicago gay community's news source Windy City Times reported last week that the same sex marriage bill Senate sponsor Heather Steans plans to bring her bill up for a vote early in February, when the new legislature convenes.
"We are working to address concerns expressed with particular language in the bill, and I expect we will take up the marriage bill sometime soon after our return," Steans said in a statement.
With a new Democrat super-majority in both state chambers, the legislation's passage would seem to be presumed. But there are Downstate Democrats with strong Catholic Church ties that may find it difficult to tow the party line on same sex marriage. Catholic leaders have taken a strong position against the law's passage.
In response, bill sponsors say they are working on adjustments to the legislation that would remove religious freedoms concerns voiced by opponents in the last session. The proponents may have to exert extra effort to calm those concerns, because when the civil union legislation passed, they conveyed similar assurances that ended up causing Catholic Charities to close down their foster and adoption services in Illinois. Other religious groups have re-established state-related children's services without mention of the adopting couples' marital status.
However, the religious freedom issue remains an issue of debate in considering gay marriage legalization. A Princeton law professor has predicted increasing persecution of Catholic teaching on sexuality, amid accusations by a New York scholar that such teaching creates a culture of rape.
In a Jan. 17 email to CNA, Professor Robert George of Princeton University warned of rising oppression against those who oppose a redefinition of marriage.
Such persecution includes an increase in "the use of 'anti-discrimination' laws to violate the freedom of religious institutions and religious individuals to honor their beliefs about marriage and sexual morality,” he said.
From NOM blog