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Cardinal George, Catholic Conference Oppose Civil Unions Bill

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 24, 2010 3:00PM

2010_02_12_cardinalgeorge.jpg In Springfield, House Speaker Michael Madigan is the divining rod when it comes to the status of a pending bill. If he says that SB 1716, which will accord gay couples in civil unions the same rights as straight couples, has a good chance of passing in the state legislature's current veto session, it likely means the votes are there and Gov. Quinn would sign it into law if it passed.

Now that SB1716 seems likely, Illinois Catholics are starting to voice opposition to it. The Catholic Conference of Illinois issued a statement Monday calling for lawmakers to reject SB 1716. Cardinal Francis George said in the statement:

"Everyone has a right to marry, but no one has the right to change the nature of marriage. Marriage is what it is and always has been, no matter what a legislature decides to do; however, the public understanding of marriage will be negatively affected by passage of a bill that ignores the natural fact that sexual complementarity is at the core of marriage."

Cardinal George also asks that "more should be done to engage the people in public debate" on the matter. Which is fine and good, except, this bill is a longstanding matter. But the state Senate passed the bill last year. This is outstanding business that the Catholic Conference is only starting to oppose now because Madigan said it has a chance of winning.

Cardinal George does have a history of opposing gay rights. He's also the outgoing president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, which funneled loads of money and resources into opposing Proposition 8 in California.