The Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George and his six auxiliary bishops distributed a letter on January 1 that referred to same-sex marriage “an affront to reason and the common good of society.” In a report by the Chicago Tribune, Cardinal George asked Catholics to lobby politicians to resist the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would make same sex marriage legal in the state of Illinois. Citing Holy Scripture and natural law, the cardinal archbishop explained that heterosexual relations between a man and woman in marriage serves two inter-twined purposes of procreation and the expression of enduring love.
“Does this mean that the Church is anti-gay?” wrote Cardinal George. “No, for the Church welcomes everyone, respects each one personally and gives to each the spiritual means necessary to convert to God’s ways and maintain friendship with Christ.” According to the churchman, pious Catholics do not bully or shun homosexual relatives and acquaintances. However, said Cardinal George, “(N)o matter how strong a friendship or deep a love between persons of the same sex might be, it is physically impossible for two men, or two women, to consummate a marital union.” To assert otherwise, he said, is “an affront to human reason and the common good of society.”
According to the cardinal's letter, if same-sex marriage is legalized, "We will all have to pretend to accept something that is contrary to the common sense of the human race. Those who continue to distinguish between genuine marital union and same-sex arrangements will be regarded in law as discriminatory, the equivalent of bigots.”
The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act will be introduced by Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Greg Harris, (D-Chicago) and is expected to be passed by the state General Assembly. The bill has been endorsed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D), both of whom are Catholics. The Illinois state senate may vote this week on the bill, which may reach the state house by next week.
Quinn and Durbin, among some 250 others, signed a letter to the Illinois legislature endorsing the measure in December. President Barack Obama also supports same-sex unions, having said in a May 2012 statement, “(I)t is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.