Thirteen states now allow same-sex marriage. Illinois isn’t one of them. Though the Illinois Senate passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in February, the bill’s sponsors haven’t come up with the votes to pass it in the House.
The political and legal dynamics of same-sex marriage have been changing quickly since that Senate vote. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a major section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the path for gay marriage in California. Pope Francis’ recent comment that the Roman Catholic Church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods” has prompted new debate within and outside of the church.
Will there be a vote in the Illinois House when lawmakers reconvene in October? Have public attitudes in the state changed? Can a law that permits same-sex marriage protect religious freedom? We’re going to take on those questions at a forum I’ll moderate on Tuesday Oct. 1 with four of the leaders in this debate.
This is a great panel.
State Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago is the primary House sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.
Robert Gilligan is the executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, which represents the six Roman Catholic dioceses in the state and opposes same-sex marriage.
Chicago Ald. Deborah Mell, a former state representative, became the first member of the Illinois legislature to publicly enter a same-sex marriage when she was married in Iowa in 2011.
Peter Breen is the vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm that has led legal efforts to stop same-sex marriage laws.
They will discuss the religious and legal implications of the bid to redefine marriage in Illinois and the political prospects for a change in the law.
Chicago Forward: A Discussion About Marriage Equality, will be held at 6 p.m. at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St. We’ll take questions from the audience and continue the discussion at a reception after the forum. I hope you’ll join us. Tickets are available at tribnation.com/events.
--Bruce Dold, editorial page editor
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun