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SEEKING the TRUTH Debunking Common Myths Myth:  If marriage equality is legalized, all churches and religious institutions will be forced to marry gay and lesbian couples and recognize those unions.  FACT: The marriage equality bill legalizes only civil marriage for same-sex couples. The ability for any religious institution to recognize or perform any marriage remains unchanged. Some clergy refuse to marry interfaith couples while other clergy refuse to marry a couple if one member has been divorced. No religious institution will ever be forced to marry same-sex couples or recognize same-sex couples within its belief system. Because the United States Constitution guarantees these religious freedoms, no court decision or legislative mandate can change these fundamental tenets. Myth: Illinois already has civil unions, and that law provides the same rights as marriage.  FACT: A civil union is not equal to a marriage. The institution of marriage has a long legal and cultural history, so employers, businesses, and other societal actors know how to treat married couples. This is not the case for couples in civil unions. Equality Illinois has documented numerous instances where private institutions, such as businesses, have not recognized civil unions as equal to marriage for the purpose of providing benefits. Because of the confusion over the status and rights of civil union couples, these couples are constantly unsure of how they will be treated by different people around the state. The bottom line is that the separation of civil unions and marriage into two separate institutions implies that the love and commitment same-sex couples share is less valid than that of opposite-sex couples who have the option to marry. Myth: Marriage equality changes the definition of marriage.  FACT: Allowing same-sex couples to get married does not change the definition of marriage. Marriage will remain an institution entered into by two people who love each other and seek to make a lifetime commitment to each other and protect their families. Myth: Marriage is meant for couples that can have children, and same-sex couples cannot do this.  FACT: For some couples, marriage is about parenting, and for some it is not. Many couples, oppositesex and same-sex, do not intend to ever have children, or meet and marry later in life but still seek to make a lifetime commitment through marriage. On the other hand, one in five same-sex couples are raising children. The reasons couples would like to be married are as varied for same-sex couples as they are for opposite-sex couples. For some the reasons may include children, and for others they may not.



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)