CHICAGO (CBS) — About 200 ministers and others gathered in the south suburbs on Tuesday, day calling on the Illinois House to say “no” to legislation to legalize same-sex marriages.
Some pastors promised there would be political consequences if state lawmakers approve gay marriage: they won’t be invited to speak to the pastors’ congregations at election time.
Bishop Lance Davis, of New Zion Covenant Church in Dolton, is co-chairman of the African-American Clergy Coalition, and says he’s worried that, if gay marriage becomes law in Illinois, the values he’s teaching his children will come under attack.
“In the educational system, what will happen is that my children will be exposed to the acceptance of a lifestyle that we believe is against the Bible,” he said.
Davis said a new round of robo-calls is going out in mostly black legislative districts, urging people to call their lawmakers and tell them to vote no on Senate Bill 10. The measure already won approval in the Illinois Senate, and awaits a House vote.
The religious leaders and other gay marriage opponents said they don’t like that they’re being called bigots and homophobes for standing their religious ground, and believing only in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.
“We believe we are standing up for the best interests of families in this state. Once gay marriage goes forward…all religious freedoms shall then be assaulted and attacked and begin to be shut down,” said Pastor Richard Giovannetti, of Morris.
David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, said “There’s a compelling interest for the government to recognize natural marriage (between a man and a woman). Natural marriage provides the ideal environment to raise the next generation of children. All the social research says children do better in a mother-father home.”
Davis said he believes that, even though the Illinois legislation would not require churches to perform same-sex marriages if they don’t believe in them, someone might go to federal court and sue the churches for violating their rights.