As gay marriage moves closer to a vote in the Illinois General Assembly, Cardinal Francis George has released a letter attacking the notion of same- sex marriage itself and urging Catholics to voice their objections.
A full floor vote was delayed today, though an Illinois Senate Executive Committee did approve it, according to the Huffington Post. Despite the delay, proponents say the bill could still ultimately be approved.
Illinois would become the 10th state in the country to allow same-sex marriages.
In his letter, George argued that because same-sex marriages cannot be consummated and are not undertaken for the purpose of conceiving children that government, "has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible."
He qualifies his argument by writing that the Catholic church offers support for the gay community through various ministries. George argues that opposition to the potential law is crucial because of societal acceptance same-sex marriage would gain if it is viewed as legal.
"Human dignity and human rights are then reduced to the whims of political majorities," he writes.
Supporters of same-sex marriage have long argued that legalization is a human rights issue and the restriction of marriage rights to heterosexual couples is its own form of discrimination.
The law would force no religious institutions to perform same-sex marriages.
Gay marriage has been gaining support nationally at a comparatively rapid rate in recent years. Recent polls have consistently indicated that over half of Americans support it. That number spikes to 72 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 years of age, according to a CBS News poll.
The governor's view -
Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has said in the past that he'd like to see the state legislature pass a marriage equality bill and get it to his desk in January.
Quinn urged state lawmakers to study the matter carefully before they return to Springfield for the lame duck session which began Jan. 2.
The governor's comments arrived following the release of a Public Policy Polling poll that found that 47 percent of Illinois voters support same-sex marriage and support increased among both younger voters and voters of color, including Latino voters, who were 70 percent in support, the Windy City Times reports.