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Illinois Gov. Quinn To Sign Marriage Equality Bill Into Law Today On Abe Lincoln's Desk

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 20, 2013 3:45PM

Gov. Pat Quinn is set to sign Senate Bill 10 into law at the UIC Forum this afternoon, making the Prairie State the 16th to recognize same-sex marriage and he'll be signing the bill on a piece of American history.

Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reports Quinn will sign SB 10 on the desk Abraham Lincoln used to draft his first inaugural address. Lincoln used his address on March 4, 1861 as an attempt to bring the states together; the Civil War would begin April 2.

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them.

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Quinn is using the desk as a symbolic bridge to reach out to opponents of marriage equality. The Illinois House passed the bill two weeks ago but that hasn't stopped opponents from crying out the sky will fall now that it's set to become law. Cardinal Francis George, in a letter included in the Archdiocese’s bulletin, said allowing gays and lesbians the right to marry in Illinois would “contribute over the long run to the further dissolution of marriage and family life, which are the bedrock of any society.”

In his letter George stated that while "the law has made some gays and lesbians happy" he and opponents “tried to explain that this is not primarily a religious issue, since marriage comes to us from nature as the union of a man and a woman.” Still, he predicted there would be “consequences for the Church and society that will become clearer as the law is used to sue for discrimination.”

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, Cardinal George.