CCI regrets passage of bill legalizing civil unions in Illinois

Editor’s note: The following statement has been released by the Catholic Conference of Illinois, the public policy arm of the Catholic bishops in the state. For more information and updates, visit


The Catholic Conference of Illinois (CCI) regrets the General Assembly’s passage of Senate bill 1716. Upon the Governor’s signature, this legislation will legalize civil unions and explicitly grant these unions the same status as marriage in state law.

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. The Church did not invent marriage and neither has any state. 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 each other in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.

The legislation also contains the potential for serious conflict with religious liberty. While the bill states that nothing in the Act should interfere with or regulate the religious practice of any religious body, such language may offer little protection in the context of litigation religious institutions may soon encounter in relation to charitable services, adoption and foster care.

We hope these issues will be seriously evaluated by policy makers in the coming months and that additional conscience protections will be afforded.

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