Religion

African-American Religious Leaders Rally Against Marriage Equality

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A coalition of black clergy members are campaigning against same-sex marriage and threatening to unseat Illinois lawmakers who vote in favor of the issue next week.

“I think that they will feel the crunch,” Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago said. “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.”

Bishop Lance Davis, of New Zion Covenant Church in Dolton, is working with Bishop Trotter in the campaign to defeat the measure.

“There’s no steamroller. There was a steamroller in place that was supposed to pass a bill by May 31st of 2013. It was stopped then, and it can be stopped again,” Davis said.

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Another coalition of clergy members and faith leaders is gearing up support for the other side of the spectrum. The State Journal-Register reports that a letter with more than 300 signatures was sent to Illinois House members stating that marriage equality is “morally just.”

The letter from the coalition states that the bill would not require any church, mosque or synagogue to marry same-sex couples if it disagrees with the practice.

The State General Assembly will comes together this week to vote on the bill, which was passed in the Illinois Senate on Valentine’s Day. 

The House sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), told CBS Chicago he is optimistic about gay marriage support and is optimistic about the bill's chances. Lawmakers will start the final three days of veto session starting Tuesday.

Sources: State Journal-Register, CBS Chicago