Nancy Thorner (far right) joined Lake County Right to Life in Springfield Wednesday
It was 6:00 am when I boarded a chartered bus organized by Lake County Right to Life President Bonnie Quirke, along with thirty-nine others that signed up to attend "Marriage Lobby Day" at the state Capitol. Sponsored by Illinois Family Institute, Executive Director David E. Smith organized an effort Wednesday, October 23, to encourage lawmakers to protect and strengthen marriage instead of undermining it through Senate Bill 10. The day before, Tuesday, October 23, those in favor of gay marriage had gathered in Springfield to lobby for their cause.
Lake County Right to Life, along with others like African-American Clergy Coalition and the Catholic Conference of Illinois as well as churches across the state converged on Springfield to affirm their support of God's design for marriage. Estimates are between 3 to 5,000 strong believers in God's design of marriage as detailed in Matthew 19:4 "... He who create them from the beginning made them male and female...."
Armed with a folder provided by president Bonnie Quirke of Lake County Right for Life, I settled back to read its many inserts. The schedule of events first caught my attention. I would be too late to attend the 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Prayer Rally at the Lincoln Statue at the east side of the Capitol at 2nd street, but in time to attend the 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Marriage Rally in the Rotunda.
Also scheduled was Special music in the Rotunda from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.; a Prayer Rally in the Rotunda from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; a Marriage Prayer Walk around the Capitol every 15 minutes, starting near the Lincoln Statue at 2nd St., from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and visiting the offices of our state representative, Speaker Madigan and Minority Leader Durkin from 9:00 - 3:00 p.m. to drop off prepared half-sheet letters, to be signed and with our addresses, stating our purpose for being in Springfield today:
We are here at the Capitol today to oppose the effort to redefine the institution of marriage (SB 10). For the needs and rights of children, the health of communities, and individual religious liberties marriage, marriage must be protected and strengthened, not undermined. . . The union between one man and one woman - marriage -- is timeless, universal, and special. Please protect marriage and be a voice for God's design for the family. Vote NO to SB 10.
One attention-getting article in my folder was entitled, The Truth About Same-Sex 'Marriage', which made the following points:
- It's not about 'Equality', 'Love', 'Discrimination', or 'Civil Rights.' It's about teaching your children homosexuality is normal and inviting them to affirm and participate in its lifestyle.
- Same sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution which grants the 'free exercise' of religion guaranteed to each person beyond the four walls of a religious institution.
- What homosexuals are actually demanding is that they be permitted to redefine marriage -- to eliminate one of the conditions that society views as central to marriage: sexual complementarity.
The meaning of marriage was described in another folder insert:
All societies throughout recorded history have publicly recognized the institution of marriage as a sexually complementary public institution. The government's obligation is merely to recognize legally what marriage actually is. The government has no business creating an entirely new-and-destructive-institution and then attaching to it the name of marriage. . . . If marriage were solely or even centrally about love and had no connection to children, the state would have no interest in or business being involved with marriage.
Prior to reaching Springfield, an article about the effects of same-sex marriage on school children in Massachusetts served as a further eye-opener, giving me much ammunition as to the ineffability of even considering a same sex marriage bill here in Illinois.
Because same-sex marriage is 'legal' in Massachusetts (court ruling, November 2003), federal judges ruled in 2007 that the schools now have a duty to portray homosexual relationships as normal to children, despite what parents may think or believe! It behooves all who are pushing SB 10 here in Illinois to read What same-sex 'marriage' has done to Massachusetts. The same would happen here in Illinois.
There was excitement upon reaching Springfield. Finally the time had come. The sight of the Capitol dome told all that our destination had been reached.
Many in the group decided to visit their legislator's offices first to deliver their letters asking legislators to vote no to SB 10. Legislative districts represented in the diverse group from Lake County were 51st (Ed Sullivan - R); 52nd (David McSweeney - R); 58th (Scott Drury - D); 59th (Carol Sente - D); 60th (Rita Mayfield - D); 61th (Jo Ann Osmond - R); 62nd (Sam Yinling - D); 64th (Barbara Wheeler - R).
Although 61st District Jo Ann Osmond is retiring this year, she was present at the veto session (which also includes next week) to make sure that, should the SB 10 be brought up for a vote, her "no" vote would be recorded.
In meeting Representative Rita Mayfield in the tunnel from the Capitol Building to the cafeteria, she informed Bonnie Quirke that she would be voting "no," as this is how her constituents want her to vote in Waukegan, IL. It was disconcerting to hear that a recent count indicated that the bill was only two short of bringing it up in the House for a vote. It was already passed in the Senate.
After that, the Marriage Rally began in the Rotunda. Looking up at the balcony area from the ground floor of the Rotunda, I saw many individuals gazing down at all the people sitting in chairs on the ground floor, crammed into the Capitol Rotunda, as cameras were recording.
David Smith, as Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute and organizer of the Defend Marriage Lobby Day, introduced the speakers. "Don't let anyone tell you that marriage doesn't have broad support among Hispanics, Asians, Republicans and Democrats," he said.
Following the prayer by Monsignor Carl Kemme, Diocese of Springfield, IL, Bishop Larry Trotter, Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago spoke about what the righteous must do:
- Take a stand for what is right and righteous.
- Report for duty.
- Keep on believing that Jesus walked on water, calmed the oceans and the seas, and that the Bible is the Word of God.
Senator Kirk W. Dillard, a Republican member of the IL State Senate (24th District), and now running for governor of Illinois, indicated that he would veto any gay marriage bill and how he has always been for marriage between one man and one woman.
Senator Jim Oberweis, although a freshman senator, said he will mount a campaign to defeat Senator Dick Durbin if he can get enough signatures on petitions to qualify. Oberweis has always supported traditional marriage.
Christian activist Jim Finnegan, in relating how religion is being taken out of business and schools, quoted the Bible and its 5th amendment: Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which The Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12RSV) There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that marriage is anything other than between one man and one woman.
Pastor Danny Holliday of Victory Baptist Church in Alton, IL, believed in and trusted in this nation when he went to war in Vietnam, fearing for his life. What sustained Pastor Holliday was his love for this nation and his belief that this nation was one under God. It was God who put male and female together, not the government, initially joining Adam and Eve. Now promoters of gay marriage are changing their tune from one of civil rights to redefining the institution of marriage that God has created.
Peter Breen represented the Thomas More Society as it defends the constitutionality of Illinois law defining marriage as the union of husband and wife.
Self-described ex-lesbian Linda Jernigan, and Abraham Lincoln impersonator Marc Zumhagen also spoke.
Words of unflinching affirmation fashioned the rhetoric of the speakers. Several worth remembering:
- Christ is a friend of sinners, but not not a friend of homosexual behavior.
- Gay marriage will have to be taught as the moral equivalency of marriage in schools if SB 10 is passed.
- We can't allow 200 years of history to hi-jack the very thing we hold dear because of emotional underpinnings that something should be so.
- Tell your children that we used to be one nation under God, that whatever race or gender we were born into will always remain with us.
- Our faith and our church are now under attack. God will move on our behalf, but we must become involved.
On my trip home from Springfield, in contemplation of the day's events, I was even more certain that gay marriage is not a civil right. Civil rights are very specific rights that are accorded to individuals because of their status as humans These rights are based on universal characteristics, not on feelings, desires, "orientations," or volitional conduct.