The Chicago Tribune on the effects of same-sex civil unions and religious liberty issues playing a role in the Illinois GOP primary happening today:
The issue of religious freedom, raised by all four Republican candidates but identified most strongly with Rick Santorum, finds an interested audience as the contest reaches Illinois.
Last year in Illinois, Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency were forced to pull out of the foster care business when they refused to license couples in civil unions.
... Some believe Santorum's religious rhetoric could lure socially conservative voters who feel persecuted for their religious beliefs and who argue that the nation's founding principle of religious liberty is under attack by President Barack Obama's administration. Religion is seen as a lightning-rod issue, similar to the proposed bans on same-sex marriage that drew social conservatives to the polls in 2004 and helped George W. Bush win re-election.
"The language that we hear about the Obama administration waging war against religion is both energizing and polarizing," said Ralph Keen, chair of Catholic studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "The person who declares that there is an Obama-led war against religion is going to be recognized as the leader of a cause that mobilizes. It's going to mobilize the religious population."