The Belleville chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) supports HB 5170, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. The act clearly states that any religious denomination may freely choose which marriages it will solemnize.
The purpose of HB 5170 is to provide same-sex and different-sex couples and their children equal access to the status, benefits, protections, rights, and responsibilities of civil marriage.
The dreams we hold for our gay and lesbian children are no less than those we hold for our heterosexual children: to find the love of their lives, to marry, to have children and provide us with many grandchildren. It is angering, heartbreaking and unacceptable that our gay and lesbian children are not guaranteed the same rights and benefits inherent to civil marriage that our heterosexual children automatically assume and enjoy.
Partners in a civil union are not given the dignity of being spouses. The rights provided by a civil union do not include the same spousal rights found within a civil marriage.
Our gay and lesbian children are forming families. Our grandchildren see their same-sex parents as their parents, as the leaders and protectors of their family. Without marriage equality in Illinois our grandchildren and their families are deemed to be second-class citizens, entitled to lesser dignity.
Marriage equality fosters family equality. It is for the sake of all children and their families in Illinois that Belleville PFLAG supports The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, HB 5170.
President, Belleville Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays