Cupid's arrow has found a new mark. Homosexual marriage was passed on Valentine's Day in the Illinois Senate by a vote of 34-21-2 and now moves to the House. Conservative groups and churches are fighting back, but in a state like Illinois, is there any hope?
While families were celebrating Christmas 2012, gay rights advocates in Illinois had something else in mind. Equality Illinois and their partners in Springfield decided to move quickly during the Lame Duck Session to pass gay marriage while pastors, Christian families and conservatives weren't looking.
On the Monday before Christmas, Paul Caprio of Family-PAC convened an emergency meeting with pro-family leaders to form the Coalition to Protect Children & Marriage.
The Illinois Family Institute sent an urgent letter to over 7,000 churches co-signed by highly respected pastors. Bob Gilligan and the Catholic Conference of Illinois went into full court press. Family-PAC placed thousands of phone calls, invading homes at Christmas-time to voters unaware.
Members on both sides of the aisle were flooded with protests. Desperate for votes, gay marriage activists did everything they could to get a Republican member of the legislature visiting her dying mother to come back and vote. Another member defeated in the 2012 election was cajoled into stepping down early so that a "friendly" could take his place. He declined. And so gay rights advocates could not get the support they needed and the vote was never called.
But with a fresh-faced forty votes in the newly elected Senate, it was an easy sweep. "Marriage Equality is coming to Illinois!" predicted Governor Pat Quinn. Pat Brady, the head of the Illinois Republican Party made clear in January he believed and hoped for the same. "We need to deliver to a bigger audience and convince them we're not just a party of angry old white guys...that we do understand everyone's problems and we want to help everybody."
Gay marriage is coming. Proponents are sure. Daily news articles and reporters tell Illinoisans trends are changing. Polls are conducted to convince legislators and voters alike. Hollywood actors like Jesse Tyler Ferguson of "Modern Family" were flown in to seal the deal. Rallies attended by hundreds in Chicago demanded "Equal Marriage Now!"
Clever to a fault, the movement has called the same-sex bill "The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act." The bill began with ominous language for clergy that threatened to force them to open churches and synagogues to same-sex marriage even if not forcing them to perform the weddings. In the guise of non-discrimination, it would have forced churches, religious schools and charities to hire staff of any sexual proclivity if they claimed to be of the same faith. Pastors were up in arms. Gay marriage proponents held breakfasts to sympathetically feign interest in their grievances -- all the while planning to remove that language to eventually render their objections meaningless.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, not to be suckered, made sure Catholics have not relied on Religious Freedom alone as their argument. In a burst of simple elegance he stated:
Sexual relations between a man and a woman are naturally and necessarily different from sexual relations between same-sex partners. This truth is part of the common sense of the human race. It was true before the existence of either Church or State, and it will continue to be true when there is no State of Illinois and no United States of America. A proposal to change this truth about marriage in civil law is less a threat to religion than it is an affront to human reason and the common good of society. It means we are all to pretend to accept something we know is physically impossible. The Legislature might just as well repeal the law of gravity.
But so far homosexual activists continue to defy the "law of gravity" thinking, as others in the past have on abortion, that what's legal is moral too.
And much like pro-lifers were maligned and denigrated as weirdos -- worse yet, clinic bombers and radicals in the 80's -- so are opponents of same sex marriage regarded in the new millennium. It wasn't until the truth about the brutality of abortion and the tremendous harm to women became common knowledge that people's hearts on abortion were profoundly changed. And so it will be with the issue of homosexual marriage.
The push for the moment is all one-sided. People opposed are "haters." Punishment and/or loss of employment can result for anyone reporting statistics on the effects on children raised by same sex parents. People are silenced and maligned by reporting findings and real life experiences that don't comport with the powerful agenda of homosexual activists.
Someday these things will become common knowledge and much as the beautiful image of a preborn baby has moved hearts and minds so we will rediscover the beauty of husband, wife and children.
But will the homosexual marriage bill pass in the Illinois Legislature and be signed into law? Not without a fight. Pro-family PACs will target all Republicans who have made the fatal mistake of voting for this bill. Chairman Pat Brady is being challenged by conservatives who will not give up the fight. And even if they win, homosexual activists will not be able to sustain the myth forever.
Suitable, then, that the vote on homosexual marriage should take place on a day celebrating a myth. The tale of Cupid and his trouble-making bow makes February 14th the perfect day for this vote.