Chicago Cardinal Francis George opened 2013 with a renewed campaign against equality in Illinois. George and six bishops, leaders of the Catholic Church in the state, released a letter saying legalizing gay marriage is against nature and God.
Illinois Democrats hope to deliver a gay marriage bill to Gov. Pat Quinn this month, possibly as early as next week. The legislation, which could be introduced in the state senate on Jan. 2, is called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act because the bill does not require religious institutions to celebrate same-sex marriages or their leaders to officiate at gay weddings.
George says the bill ignores basic truths and that gay marriage is unnatural because same-sex couples cannot consummate a marriage.
He writes, “Marriage comes to us from nature. The human species comes in two complementary sexes, male and female. Their sexual union is called marital. It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children. It provides the biological basis for personal identity.
"It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage, even when they share a deep friendship or love. Does this mean nature is cruel or that God is unfair? No, but it does mean that marriage is what nature tells us it is and that the State cannot change natural marriage. Civil laws that establish "same-sex marriage" create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”
George says if lawmakers enact a gay marriage law “it will be acting against the common good of society. We will all have to pretend to accept something that is contrary to the common sense of the human race,” that the “natural family is undermined” and “human dignity and human rights are then reduced to the whims of political majorities.”
The cardinal urges members of the church to go to a Website – www.ilcatholic.org – for information and updates on the issue.
George, in the letter, also claims that the Archdiocese of Chicago “has consistently condemned violence toward or hatred of homosexually oriented men and women. Good pastoral practice encourages families to accept all their children and not break relationships with them.”
Gay civil rights activists challenged that the cardinal's assertion ignores basic facts and that George has been a leader in the U.S. church's attempt to block civil or equal rights for LGBT people and he has repeatedly made anti-gay statements, including one comparing civil rights activists to the KKK.
"I don't really think the cardinal knows what is natural or unnatural," said gay rights activist Paul Frazier of Rock Island, Ill., who was considering a organizing a demonstration. "He certainly doesn't know right from wrong."