After all, we still are family

October 24, 2013 

Two items caught our attention and got the wheels spinning this week.

First, we reported on the "families" being formed at Ellis School. They mix younger pupils, older students and a staff person into families that let them build supportive relationships. They develop bonds, learn from one another and happily greet their "family" members when they pass in the hall.

Second, the proponents and opponents of gay marriage were in Springfield because a bill may be called for a House vote during the veto session. The Illinois Senate already passed it.

Advocates want not only the commitment, security and mutual support that the students at Ellis seek, but they want the legal bond that allows them rights that range from adoptions to end-of-life decisions. They want to proclaim to their friends and family that they are stable, responsible and deeply care for their better half.

Opponents mainly see gay marriage as being against nature because it cannot lead to reproduction. They cite biblical prohibitions.

Well, we wonder whether the ability to have children should be anyone's marriage test -- a question that draws into sharp focus when you visit the discount store in the wee hours and see some of the examples. Barren couples as well as the elderly sweethearts who could not pass a fertility test would be denied companionship. offers to find your soul mate, not your reproduction-ready partner.

Churches still have the freedom to say who they will and will not marry. We're unclear what they see in a gay marriage bill that would stop them from preaching their interpretation of God's word or deciding who to wed in their houses of worship.

Isn't this about what we as a secular state should or shouldn't do? Isn't this about a license and legal rights? Isn't this about the foundation of a family in a nation where 41 percent of children are born to unwed mothers?

Should the state require fertility tests or ask people to drop their drawers before issuing marriage licenses? Should the state define a family?

If so, maybe there's a cease and desist order in Ellis Elementary's future.

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