Illinois Mormons against civil unions?
Posted on March 6, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
Gay rights advocates fear that Mormons in Nauvoo might try to undermine civil unions up for debate in Springfield today. They point to the church’s overwhelming financial support of California’s Proposition 8, the successful ballot measure that made it illegal for lesbian and gay couples to marry.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, accused the Latter-day Saints of sending a private e-mail to Illinois members, urging them to contact state legislators and voice opposition to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, a bill that would define “civil union” as a legal relationship between two persons, of either the same or opposite sex. It would also entitle both parties of a civil union to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded to spouses.
The bill has been scheduled for a hearing in the Illinois House of Representatives Youth and Family Committee today. If the bill is voted out of committee, it becomes eligible for a vote before the full Illinois House of Representatives.
But Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the national church, said the e-mail was not part of a church wide opposition campaign. The church’s engagement with political causes is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is unclear if the Illinois legislation would violate church doctrine as interpreted by Latter-day Saints.
“As is widely known, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage,” she said in a statement. “The Church has not taken a position on any legislation currently being considered by the Illinois State Legislature … An e-mail was sent from a local Illinois Church leader to his congregation – one of 129 congregations in the state — who was free to express his own views.”
The e-mail in question was sent to at least one Mormon ward in Illinois and authorized by Bishop Chris Church of Nauvoo.
The message warns recipients that the legislation would “empower the public schools to begin teaching this lifestyle to our young children regardless of parental requests otherwise.”
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