CCI: Same-sex marriage motivates civil union legislation

The real motivation behind civil union legislation in Illinois is not access to benefits but advancing the cause of same-sex marriage, according to a document published Oct. 15 by the Catholic Conference of Illinois.
titled “Promoting Civil Unions to Undermine Marriage,” the document — available online and in a 12-page booklet — gives background on current legislation in Illinois as well as the legal experiences of other states.

Intended for both policymakers and the public, the text also succinctly describes the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and why it would be dangerous for the state to undermine traditional marriage.

The Catholic Conference of Illinois is the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops.

“THE PURSUIT of legislation codifying civil unions represents a political tactic designed to further the goal of legalizing same-sex marriage,” said the text. It notes that in states such as Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, proponents used legislative victories on civil unions as a foundation to quickly demand same-sex marriage.

“The evidence is clear and the cycle too often repeated to be coincidental,” said the CCI document, warning the same cycle has begun in Illinois with the introduction this year of House Bill 2234, known as the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.

“House Bill 2234 redefines ‘spouse’ to include “a party to civil union,” said the document. “In Illinois law, the term ‘spouse’ has always been defined as a married person, namely a husband or wife. No longer if this bill becomes law.

“It is difficult to appreciate the far-reaching consequences of such a profound change,” the text continues, noting the bill would grant equivalent legal rights bestowed on married couples to a party to a civil union.

If the benefits are the same, proponents will next argue that the name “marriage” must apply to such cases, warns the CCI, and pursue same-sex marriage as a civil right.

“OUR CATHOLIC faith speaks very clearly to this issue,” write the CCI authors in their conclusion. “Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. Marriage has been established by our Creator in harmony with the nature of man and woman and with its own essential properties and purpose.

“No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, mutually commit to and perfect each other in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.”

Access to domestic benefits including hospital visitation rights and survivor benefits can be gained, and progress has already been made, “without the controversial burden of government sanctioned civil union,” said the CCI.

“The Catholic Church is consistent in its teaching of never denying rights to people,” the document concludes. But insisting that Illinois’ laws and policies support marriage as “the foundation of this society,” the CCI stressed that “attempts to redefine marriage will only serve to weaken the already precarious position of American families and undermine the stability of our society.”

The full text of the document is available at www.catholicconference ofillinois.org.

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