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Illinois bishops: Same-sex civil union legislation threatens religious freedom

Catholic World News - November 24, 2010

Legislation that would legalize homosexual civil unions in Illinois threatens religious liberty, the Illinois Catholic Conference said in a November 22 statement.

“Marriage is what it is and always has been, no matter what a legislature decides to do; however, the public understanding of marriage will be negatively affected by passage of a bill that ignores the natural fact that sexual complementarity is at the core of marriage,” said Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. “Moreover, the impact of this legislation on the Church’s social service ministries remains an important and thus far unanswered concern. This important legislation is being put before a lame-duck General Assembly and more should be done to engage the people in public debate.”

“There is an inherent conflict between this legislation and religious liberty,” the Illinois Catholic Conference said in its statement, adding:

Language in the bill offers little protection in the context of litigation that religious institutions and individuals will face if this bill is adopted.

With no explicit protections for religious liberties, it will not take long before the General Assembly or the courts


mandate that faith-based institutions providing adoption or foster care services be required to place adoptive or foster children with couples who have entered into a same-sex civil union

require that Catholic parishes or Catholic agencies providing social services (including retreats, religious camps, homeless shelters, senior care centers and community centers) be compelled to provide these services to individuals who are in a same-sex civil union

refuse to protect small employers who do not wish to extend family benefits to employees in a same sex civil union

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