Hundreds of Illinois Clergy, many of them from the Chicago area, are throwing their support behind a same-sex marriage bill that could come up for a vote in Springfield.
More than 200 Rabbis and pastors from denominations supporting gay rights issued a joint letter on Sunday urging lawmakers to pass the Religious Freedom and Marriage Act. The bill could appear before the legislature when they convene in January.
"We dedicate our lives to fostering faith and compassion, and we work daily to promote justice and fairness for all," the coalition stated. "Standing on these beliefs, we think that it morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same sex couples. There can be no justification for the law treating people differently on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Earlier this month, Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans said they're "within striking distance" of getting legislative approval and hope to send a bill to Gov. Pat Quinn shortly after the New Year.
The legislation would offer same-sex couples marriage rights now only available to heterosexual couples.
The Chicago Democrats say public opinion favoring equal rights for same-sex partners is moving rapidly. Four states voted in favor of the issue or opposed a ban on it last month.