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The Religious Case for the

FREEDOM TO MARRY What is the Freedom to Marry? Marriage is about love, commitment, and family. The Act would guarantee that all civil marriages, regardless of whether they are between opposite-sex or same-sex couples, will come with the same protections, rights, and responsibilities for the married couples and their children. Same-sex parties to a marriage and their children will be treated under Illinois law in the same way that it recognizes marriages of opposite-sex couples. Additionally, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act respects the guarantees of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, allowing free exercise of religion and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference. Marriage is about love, commitment, and family. The Illinois bill proposing marriage equality, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, would guarantee that all marriages, regardless of whether they are between opposite-sex or same-sex couples, will come with the same protections, rights, and responsibilities for the parties to the marriage and their children.

Why is Marriage Important? Gay and lesbian individuals want to get married to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love and to protect their families. Governments use the institution of marriage to recognize and protect family units. There are 1,138 federal rights that are inherent in marriage, most of which are unavailable to Illinois couples because this state does not have the freedom to marry. In addition, the state of Illinois affords 648 protections to married couples and their families. Some of these rights include: • Veteran spousal benefits • Ability to put the entire family, including a partner and his/her children, on one medical and/or life insurance plan • Automatic inheritance, even without a will • Privilege from testifying against a partner in court • Ability to make medical decisions for a partner in an emergency • Right to joint parenting, adoption, foster care, and visitation of children • Right to take unpaid leave from work to care for a sick partner • Ability to file joint tax returns and use tax benefits for married couples

Where is Illinois On Marriage? On January 9, 2013, Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) filed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (Senate Bill 10). The bill was quickly passed by the Senate Executive Committee and approved by the Senate by a broad bi-partisan vote on Valentine’s Day, 2013. Shortly after, the House Executive Committee approved the bill. The House adjourned its session without voting on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

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THE RELIGIOUS CASE FOR THE FREEDOM TO MARRY

The Religious Case for the Freedom to Marry  
The Religious Case for the Freedom to Marry  

Prepared by Equality Illinois, the case for allowing faiths to decide which marriages should be consecrated. (Updated 9/13)

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