Rallying Cry For Marriage: One Man, One Woman
A day after supporters of same-sex marriage rallied at the Illinois Capitol, opponents had their turn. Thousands gathered at the statehouse Wednesday, Oct. 23, urging the Illinois House to uphold traditional marriage.
The event started with a prayer led by Monsignor Carl Kemme, of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield.
"Oh God, you who are true love," he said, "we know that it is from the beginning that you desire that man and woman should be joined in a union; body, heart and soul ... may our elected officials here and elsewhere know the weight of their responsibilities and their duty to safeguard in law this institution ordained by God."
Many of the speakers cited religion as the reason they oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
Others, like Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, gave another reasons.
"Senate Bill 10 has a nice title," he said. "It says it is the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, but that title is misleading. A group of law professors who favor - favor - gay marriage says that that bill as it's drawn does violate the First Amendment right to religious freedom. So that, my friends, means that that bill is unconstitutional."
Dillard, who's running for governor, may also have political reasons for his stance, as he seeks to boost his conservative credentials in a four-way primary.
The same-sex marriage legislation has stalled in the Illinois House; its sponsor is non-committal when asked if he'll call it for a vote during the fall veto session.
Head of the Illinois Family Institute David Smith, a defender of traditional marriage, says the vote count is fluid.
"One day it's one way, the next day it's another way," he said. "I'm hearing ten to 15 on-the-fence-lawmakers. But you need to step back and get a bigger picture here, and ask the question 'Why hasn't this passed?' Democrats have a super-majority. They've got 71 members. They also have the help of two, liberal Republicans who are sponsoring this bill. Why can't they get 60 votes?"
Smith says it's because same-sex marriage is not as popular as advocates claim.
But at the marriage equality march, those who favor changing the law said it's just a matter of time.