As Governor Quinn signed gay marriage into law today, one Illinois legal group warned that while the governor's signature marked the end of the legislative debate about same-sex marriage, it marked the beginning of the battle to defend religious freedom.
“The bill is called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. But this act is neither free nor fair for people of religious convictions,” explained Peter Breen, Vice President and Senior Counsel of the Thomas More Society. “Because the general assembly left out specific protections for individuals, businesses, religious organizations, and religious charities, we will have to discover the boundaries of this act through litigation.”
Litigation is something the Thomas More Society is prepared to handle. The national not-for-profit public interest law firm has been defending the First Amendment rights of American citizens for fifteen years, and has been at the forefront of the gay marriage debate in Illinois.
Brejcha and Breen are not alone in their criticism of the law that has legalized gay marriage in Illinois. A group of legal scholars also cautioned Illinois legislators about the negative implications for religious liberty in sanctioning same-sex marriage without any meaningful accommodation for fundamental First Amendment freedoms. These law professors criticized the act’s vague and undefined terminology, warning that it “leaves it to litigation to determine” what religious liberties will actually be protected.
No doubt, the ramifications of Illinois' redefining marriage may be felt for a long time.