Yesterday, Governor Quinn of Illinois signed the deceptively named "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act" into law. This prompted reactions from religious and legal leaders who warned of the bill's ill effects which will soon be seen.
Peter Breen, Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, explained that the bill's name belies its real legal effects:
The bill is called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. But this act is neither free nor fair for people of religious convictions. [...] Because the general assembly left out specific protections for individuals, businesses, religious organizations, and religious charities, we will have to discover the boundaries of this act through litigation.
Breen's remarks were reported by The Illinois Review, which also quoted the President of the Thomas More Society, Tom Brejcha:
The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom. [...] This affects believer[s] in myriad ways—how they live out their faith, how they educate their children, and how they operate their businesses.
Brejcha here was quoting the words 'the price of citizenship' from an August decision of the New Mexico Supreme Court against Elane Photography, a commercial photo studio whose owners, Jon and Elaine Huguenin, had been taken to court for declining to provide services for same-sex unions.
While The Huguenin's maintained that participating in such ceremonies would violate their religious convictions, the Court maintained that they were "compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives."
In the concurring opinion to the majority decision, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson went on to say chillingly:
[T]here is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life. In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship [emphasis added].
Meanwhile, yesterday in Illinois, the Catholic Bishop of Springfield, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Paprocki, also spoke out against the new law during a prayer service at the Cathedral [emphases added]:
[A] major deception or distortion of marriage is the view that it is not ultimately about generating life, but rather is mainly about a romantic relationship designed for individual (not even mutual) fulfillment. That distorted understanding cuts across opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage proponents in our culture. We are all summoned to reflect more deeply on the truth of marriage.
It is also a deception to say that there will be no adverse effects on children being brought up in the household of a same-sex couple.
The division brought about by the Devil due to same-sex marriage may be seen in the way our society, our families and our friendships have become so divided and polarized over this issue.
The diversion of the Devil in same-sex marriage may be seen in the fact that so much of our time, energy and resources are being spent in addressing this issue, when there are more pressing needs facing our state and our Church.
The work of discouragement by the Devil in same-sex marriage is apparent in the message being conveyed to defenders of traditional marriage that the universal redefinition of marriage is unstoppable, so we might as well just stop trying. But the legalization of abortion on demand forty years ago did not silence those who believe that abortion is contrary to God's law. On the contrary, Roe v. Wade only heightened the need for more concerted efforts to protect all human life from conception to natural death. So, too, the legal redefinition of civil marriage does not put an end to the need for discourse and action to defend natural marriage in accord with God's plan, but only serves to heighten the need for greater efforts in this regard.
You can read more of the Bishop's words at the Diocese's website.