Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A legal team specializing in civil rights, faith and freedom issues has written a letter to members of the Illinois legislature, warning that the new “Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” isn’t all about “freedom” and “fairness.”
The letter, from Thomas Brejcha, chief counsel for the Thomas More Society, is going to every member of the state General Assembly to encourage them to oppose the plan.
He advises lawmakers that voting for the proposed same-sex “marriage” bill will hurt constituents.
That’s because the “discriminatory act will declare Illinois residents who support traditional marriage to be bigoted and prejudicial.”
“You will declare your constituents who believe that marriage is a union of one man and one woman to be bigots and discriminators,” the letter explains. “You will further ensure that this declaration is reinforced through official government policy.
“For instance, as in other states, you may see public schools in your district instruct children, beginning in kindergarten, that (a) same-sex couples and same-sex sexual activity are the same as opposite-sex married couples and opposite-sex marital sexual activity or that (b) kids do not need both a mom and a dad – two moms or two dads are just as good. Parents in your district who disagree have no right under law to opt their young children out of this kind of instruction,” the letter said.
The communiqué notes that the “fairness” proposal “will actually strip away the meager religious liberty protections of the 2010 civil union law.”
While the current law allows faith-based adoption agencies, hospitals and schools to follow their deeply held convictions in regard to employment, facilities rental and other decisions, the new plan would coerce acceptance of same-sex unions under the threat of being charged with Illinois Human Rights Act violations.
Said the letter: “What benefit would a ‘yes’ vote provide to same-sex couples? The mere changing of a title of a license – such that the license for most same-sex unions would now read ‘marriage license’ instead of ‘civil union license.’ And, if the example of other states holds true here, the words ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ would be stricken from marriage licenses in favor of ‘Party A’ and ‘Party B.’ Again, a ‘yes’ vote on same sex marriage would not grant a single additional substantive legal right to any homosexual couple in Illinois.”
The harm, the letter said, will be to “faithful Catholics, evangelical Christians, Missouri Synod Lutherans, Muslims, Mormons, and Orthodox Jews.”
Among the people affected will be “small bed & breakfast owners who would be forced to rent out their home for same-sex wedding weekends; solo photographers who would be forced to spend hours photographing and designing albums for same-sex wedding ceremonies that they believe to be sinful; family catering company owners being forced to prepare, feed, serve, and support same-sex wedding receptions, even though the family members oppose those receptions with every fiber of their being.”
The warning continued, “Only time will tell whether organizations would be forced to shut down or significantly reduce their ministries in order to avoid the reach of the ‘Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.’”
The legitimacy of same-sex marriage is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in two cases. In one, Californians voted to define marriage in their state constitution as one man and one woman, but a federal court ruled the amendment unconstitutional.
In the second, Barack Obama simply decided that the federal government would not defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act, which is federal law.
In the 2012 election, after more than a decade of rejection by voter in nearly three dozen states, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state approved same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage opponents note that what is developing now in the U.S. already is advanced in Canada, which approved same-sex marriage in 2005.
There, National Review reported, there have been hundreds of formal complaints pursued against people who hold to the biblical instruction that marriage is between a man and a woman. They include a well-known television anchor on a major sports show who was fired hours after he tweeted his support for “the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”
The report said he had only been defending a hockey player’s agent who was getting death threats for refusing to support a “gay” marriage campaign.
In the case, Fred Henry, the Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary, was threatened with litigation and charged with a human-rights violation after he wrote a letter to local churches on the church’s teaching on marriage, the report said.
The report noted there have been an estimated 200 to 300 proceedings against people who defend traditional marriage.
“A considered and empathetic opposition to same-sex marriage has nothing to do with phobia or hatred, but that doesn’t stop Christians, conservatives, and anybody else who doesn’t take the fashionable line from being condemned as Neanderthals and bigots,” the report said.
Threats also have developed. In California, when voters approved the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, a series of statements were delivered to traditional marraige supporters.
Threats that were documented included:
“I’m going to kill the pastor.”
“If I had a gun I would have gunned you down along with each and every other supporter”
“We’re going to kill you.”
“You’re dead. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon … you’re dead.”
“I’m a gay guy who owns guns, and he’s my next target.”
“I warn you, I know how to kill, I’m an ex-special forces person.”
“Get ready for retribution all you bigots.”
Burn their f—ing churches to the ground and then tax the charred timbers.”
Also, churches were marred by graffiti, swastikas were put on lawns and walls, bricks thrown through windows and doors, adhesive poured into locks, suspicious packages of white powder sent in the mail – “all for nothing more than supporting traditional marriage.”