Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George and his six auxiliary bishops wrote a letter on Tuesday calling same sex marriage “an affront to reason and the common good of society.” According to the Chicago Tribune, the clergyman urged parishioners to lobby their elected representatives against the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would make same sex marriage legal in the state of Illinois.
Cardinal George and other same sex marriage opponents cite the Bible in their objections to same sex marriage, as well as “natural law,” which Tribune religion writer Manya A. Brachear explained as the notion that “heterosexual intercourse between a married man and a woman” serves “two intertwined good purposes: to procreate and to express a deep, abiding love,” purportedly making heterosexual unions superior to homosexual ones.
George expressed concern in the letter that the church might be perceived as being anti-LGBT.
“Does this mean that the Church is anti-gay?” he wrote. “No, for the Church welcomes everyone, respects each one personally and gives to each the spiritual means necessary to convert to God’s ways and maintain friendship with Christ.”
Good Catholics, he wrote, do not bully or shun their LGBT relatives and friends.
However, he said, “(N)o matter how strong a friendship or deep a love between persons of the same sex might be, it is physically impossible for two men, or two women, to consummate a marital union.”
To believe otherwise, he said, is “an affront to human reason and the common good of society.”
If same sex marriage becomes legal, he wrote, “We will all have to pretend to accept something that is contrary to the common sense of the human race. Those who continue to distinguish between genuine marital union and same-sex arrangements will be regarded in law as discriminatory, the equivalent of bigots.”
The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act will be introduced by State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Greg Harris, (D-Chicago), who believe that it will be passed by the current state General Assembly. The bill has been endorsed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D). The Illinois state senate could vote on the bill as soon as Thursday and could reach the state house by next week.
Some 250 people of faith, including Catholics politicians like Quinn and Durbin, signed a letter to the Illinois legislature endorsing the measure in December.
President Barack Obama came out in support of same sex marriage in the May of 2012, saying in a public statement, “(I)t is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Measures making same sex marriage legal passed in Washington, Maryland and Maine in the 2012 elections.
On the Illinois measure, Obama expressed his support through White House spokesperson Shin Inouye, who said on Saturday, “While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally.”
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