Illinois gay marriage vote may happen this week

Meredith Flynn —  November 5, 2013

Baptists and other clergy alert lawmakers to objections again

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

As Illinois lawmakers enter into the final week of their fall veto session, they haven’t yet tackled the most talked-about item on their agenda: marriage. But optimism from the sponsor of SB 10, the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, has advocates on both sides of the issue poised for a possible conclusion this week to several long months of debate.

Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) told the Associated Press in late October, “I’m feeling good. Things are moving in the right direction.” Harris faced doubts from same-sex marriage supporters when he failed to call the bill for a vote on the House floor on the last day of session in May. After a relatively quiet summer, advocates for same-sex marriage and traditional marriage rallied at the Capitol on separate days as legislators returned for veto session.

In the first few days of veto session, pundits said legislators were showing a lack of urgency about marriage, based on their political prospects in the upcoming primary season. But Harris told the Illinois Observer last week, “I think my colleagues should be prepared next week to make history on marriage equality.”

Church leaders with different opinions on the issue weighed in amid the new buzz surrounding SB 10. A group of more than 300 clergy members and religious leaders sent a letter to House representatives encouraging them to approve the bill, noting that marriage equality is “morally just.” On the other side of the debate, African American religious leaders who support traditional marriage said candidates who vote yes on SB 10 won’t fair well with voters.

“I think that they will feel the crunch,” said Larry Trotter, pastor of Sweet Holy Spirit Baptist Church and a vocal advocate of traditional marriage throughout the debate in Illinois. “I think that they cannot take for granted that they can come to the church; and get the church’s sanction, and votes, and signatures; and then go to Springfield, and don’t speak what the people want them to speak. And so now, if that’s how we have to be heard, we will be heard,” Trotter told CBS Chicago.

Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association, sent a letter urging representatives to defeat legislation like SB 10 that seeks to redefine marriage. “This legislation is actually discriminatory in that it declares Illinoisans who support traditional marriage to be bigoted and prejudicial,” Adams wrote. “Rather than promoting tolerance it risks legalizing intolerance.”

Adams’ letter also included the text of a resolution Illinois Baptists will consider at their annual meeting next week. The “Resolution on the Preservation of Biblical Marriage and Affirmation of Religious Liberty of Illinois Churches and Faith-based Organizations” is available online here. Messengers will vote on it and other resolutions when they meet in Springfield Nov. 13-14.

Other news:

Supreme Court considers legislative prayer case
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Nov. 6 on “Town of Greece vs. Galloway,” a case out of New York that questions the constitutionality of prayer before civic meetings. President Obama’s administration issued earlier this year a “friend of the court” brief that sides with Greece and their policy of prayer before town board meetings. Read Pew’s thorough explanation of the case here.

Obama advisor publishes ‘President’s Devotional’
Joshua DuBois, former executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is sharing daily devotional readings he wrote for the President in a new book. From the Amazon.com description: “Every day, DuBois provided President Obama with a morning devotional weaving together scripture, song, prayer, and reflections, motivated by the spirit of God and infused with joyful flair. The President’s Devotional contains the best of these devotionals, daily spiritual guidance that offer peace, comfort, and inspiration throughout the entire year.”

And The Christian Post has a story about one group questioning whether DuBois writing the devotionals was a violation of separation of church and state.

Journalist shares unlikely conversion story
Fox News commentator Kirsten Powers says, “Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud.” But Powers does just that on CT’s website, detailing her conversion to a faith she “held in particular contempt.” Her encouraging, thoughtful testimony is online here.

Tunes for your Tuesday
Need some nostalgia in your life? Check out Relevant.com’s list of “10 CCM songs of the ’90s that still hold up.” The list has selections from almost every genre contemporary Christian music offered back then, and also includes links to YouTube videos. Read it here.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.