SPRINGFIELD - What is marriage and who should be allowed to marry are questions facing not only the Illinois General Assembly, but the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments about California's Proposition 8 are being heard Tuesday and about the federal Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday. Eight basic questions are being raised about the redefinition of marriage:
- Is marriage a "right"?
- Should there be any restrictions such as sex, age, number in union, blood-relationship about those who choose to be legally joined in marriage?
4. Should a state-endorsed "right to marry" supercede personal or corporate religious beliefs?
5. While legislation legalizing same sex marriages often include "Religious Freedom" in their titles, will those churches and persons that hold religious convictions against same sex marriage or plural marriages be required to accept the state's position if it conflicts with their own?
6. Will churches with religious beliefs against gay marriage be required to admit same sex couples and families built on same sex couples if they appeal for church membership?
7. If the decision about same sex marriage is left to the states, how will non-recognizing states deal with same sex couples married in other states?
8. If the decision is left to the states, how will federal benefits such as Social Security be distributed to same sex couples in states where same sex marriage is not recognized?
Illinois House members are being asked these questions as they contemplate a vote on the redefinition of marriage when they return after spring break and the U.S. Supreme Court will be contemplating these questions as they hear arguments and deliberate, with decisions expected in June.