CHICAGO - There are plenty of religious officiants in Illinois that support same-sex marriage and are willing to perform marriage ceremonies for those same-sex couples that want their weddings to be religious ceremonies. Last week, Equality Illinois released a published list of over 270 pastors from Rockford to Chicago and Carbondale that are offering their services to LGBT couples.
"We believe that everyone should have the same rights, responsibilities, and opportunities afforded to them, and we envision a world where every loving, committed couple has the freedom to marry," the online pamphlet says.
Officiants listed on Equality Illinois' LGBT Supportive Religious Officiant 2014 list include representatives from Christian-based, more liberal denominations such as Episcopalian, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian USA and Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America.
"Because of the hard work and commitment of our members and allies, we moved one step closer to achieving that vision when the Illinois legislature passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in 2013. With our newly-codified freedom to marry in Illinois, many couples are planning to wed and some are looking to have a religious ceremony," Equality Illinois writes.
Rabbis from Jewish Reform and Jewish Conservative communities are also listed, as is an iman from Muslims for Progressive Values. One female Catholic priest offers to officiate weddings as does another from an American Baptist congregation.
The Illinois marriage law revision opening the way for couples of the same sex to marry officially goes into effect statewide June 1. After a federal judge overruled the June 1st commencement date, couples have been obtaining marriage licenses in Cook County and several other counties.
Protestants for the Common Good, which actively testified and lobbied for gay marriage legalization, based its opposition to defining marriage as between one man and one woman on its purpose to relate Christian faith and politics.
"It is not intended to tell any religious community what form or forms of intimate relationships it should sanction or consider sacred for its members. We focus only on the government’s responsibility to treat all persons equally under the law," the group's policy on gay marriage stated.
"However, our convictions regarding equality and justice stem from our religious values. From our perspective, God calls us to work for democracy at its best, in a society where we all live together as equals for the sake of the common good."
Protestants for Common Good and their affiliates are working this session to influence the Illinois General Assembly on other social and economic issues. Those affiliates include taxpayer-funded non-profits focused on economic equality such as Voices for Children and Ounce of Prevention.
On Tuesday, April 29, 2014 Protestants for Common Good will join anticipated thousands at the state capitol promoting the graduated income tax at A Better Illinois Citizen Lobby Day.