By: Katie Jones
Could the word marriage soon be defined differently in Illinois? That's the decision state lawmakers are trying to make. Now, local religious groups are taking a stand for their freedom. On Wednesday, faith leaders from all across Illinois sent a letter to lawmakers begging them not to legalize gay marriage. The union between one man and one woman, it's a century's old tradition Father Michael Schaab said the Catholic Church wants to keep.
"Historically it's always was part of the natural law that a man and woman would come together and have a child." Fr. Michael Schaab of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island said.
He worries the structure of society could change if Illinois lawmakers legalize same sex marriage. That's why the Catholic Diocese of Peoria is one of several religious groups supporting a letter asking to keep the law as is. "I would hope the church's right to follow their faith could still be preserved." Fr. Schaab said.
But not all religious groups signed on, Churches united of the quad city area represents more than a 100 faith–based organizations of all different beliefs and leaders say the letter doesn't send the right message. "The letter certainly is going to divide a lot of people and divide congregations and the issue itself divides people" "What we're trying to do right now is unite our churches, be one and really look and the larger picture and for us that's to support everybody," Anne Wachal from Churches United of The Quad City Area said.
Lawmakers were supposed to vote on the legislation Wednesday night but the measure hit a snag in the senate. If passed, Illinois would be the 10th state to legalize same sex marriage.