As supporters and opponents of gay marriage gather in Springfield today to lobby members of the House of Representatives, a Crain’s/Ipsos poll shows that 50 percent of Illinoisans support allowing members of the same sex to marry each other.
The survey of 600 adults found that 50 percent support the gay-marriage bill that cleared the state Senate last week and now awaits action in the House. That's considerably more than the 29 percent who oppose it, with 20 percent saying they don't know or have mixed feelings on the matter.
As expected, support is strongest in Chicago, with 56 percent backing passage. A majority of 52 percent of suburban residents supports approval, but support drops to a plurality of 48 percent downstate.
Illinois Unites for Marriage, a pro-gay marriage coalition, is sponsoring “Family Day,” in which gay and lesbian couples from all over the state will tell their stories to legislators. From the group’s press release:
Among the couples are Anne Dickey and Laura Hartman, who live in Rock Island and have been together for seven years. “We got a civil union last year, but we want to be able to celebrate the real thing at our church with all of our friends and family,” they said. Anne and Laura belong to St. John’s Lutheran Church and are raising their son Theodore.
“Dan and I have been married for 40 years and both of our families have been in Illinois for generations. Our son is a veterinarian and lives in Australia with his husband. Because their marriage status affects their immigration, we need Illinois to say ‘yes’ to marriage equality, so we can have our sons with us and our family back together,” said Jackie and Dan Frett, of Hinsdale.
“We have been together for 21 years. Two years ago, we entered into a civil union after getting our license at the Champaign County Clerk’s office,” said Michelle Franke and Michelle Chapell. “We want our daughter Rose to know that our family has the same legal status as any other Champaign family. We’re a unit just like any other family.”
Meanwhile, the Illinois Family Institute, the state’s leading voice against gay marriage, is responding with Lobby Day:
Join Illinois families from all over the state on Wednesday, February 20th, to stand for natural marriage and lobby your state rep to vote NO on same-sex marriage. Pack your church vans, buses and cars and join us at the Capitol to defeat this bill that will affect your family, churches and businesses. If 4,000 homeschoolers can stop a bill in one day, so can we!
If people of faith allow this bill to pass, churches will be forced to change their hiring practices and allow same-sex marriage ceremonies if they rent their facilities. Individuals and businesses owners will be subjected to lawsuits and regulatory action if they refuse to condone the “new” understanding of marriage. And children will be taught in school they can marry a man or a woman when they grow up!