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CHICAGO (AP) - Gay marriage supporters are launching a $2 million statewide campaign to approve same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Illinois Unites for Marriage is a coalition representing gay rights, civil rights and political groups.
In a statement Tuesday, the group says it will place 15 field organizers throughout the state to engage supporters. They plan to target legislators who oppose a measure to lift Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.
The Illinois Senate passed the bill in February. It wasn't called for a vote in the House because the bill's sponsor said it didn't have the votes to pass.
Jim Bennett is chairman of the coalition. He says the next few months are critical because lawmakers could take up the bill in the fall.
Opponents say marriage should be between a man and woman.
The Supreme Court invalidated parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, but the Archdiocese of St. Louis is standing firm on its opposition of gay marriage.
The Archdiocese says in a statement that "marriage predates both the U.S. government and Western civilization". The statement also states the ruling does not change the Archdiocese "responsiblity to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman".
Wednesday's ruling allows same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
The full statement from the Archdiocese is below:
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to dismiss the California Proposition 8 appeal does not change the reality of marriage, nor does it change the Archdiocese of St. Louis's responsibility to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. It is important to note that marriage predates both the U.S. government and Western civilization.
From a Catholic perspective, it is not enough to offer the Church’s position on same-sex union without also saying how it fits into a broader understanding of the sacrament of marriage, human sexuality, and the Gospel of Life as taught by Blessed John Paul II. The vocation to serve God and society through married life is a sacred union in which man and woman become one flesh. The Catholic Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. She teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality. The sexual union of a man and woman, when not obstructed by contraceptives, is the kind that is open to life even if new life is not the result.
We understand that married persons imitate the way Christ offers His body completely and permanently to the Church so that we might have life, and have it abundantly. This truth is written into our bodies as well as on the pages of the Old and New Testaments. While the law can allow other things to be called marriage, it cannot make them into the kind of union that is marriage.
CHICAGO (AP) - The leader of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has signed on to co-sponsor a measure that would authorize same-sex couples to marry in the state.
Rep. Ken Dunkin announced his support for the legislation Tuesday. The Chicago Democrat says gay families living in his district are waiting for the state to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Dunkin says the legislation would provide equal protection under the law for all families.
The proposal received Senate approval in February. Supporters say they are working to secure the 60 votes needed to pass the measure in the House.
If the bill becomes law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage. Illinois approved civil unions in 2011.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's confident same-sex marriage will become law in Illinois.
Quinn told reporters in Chicago on Monday that supporters are "very close" to the votes needed in the state House to pass legislation that grants same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
The Illinois Senate already approved it. But getting the 60 votes needed in the House is proving harder. Quinn didn't suggest a current vote count, but he said "we're going to get it done."
The Chicago Democrat says he's reached out personally to ask legislators to support the measure.
If the bill does become law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage. The state approved civil unions in 2011.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gay rights advocates say Sen. Mark Kirk's announcement that he supports gay marriage is "a sign of progress."
Kirk posted a statement on his blog Tuesday saying same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. He says what matters in life is who you love and "government has no place in the middle."
He is the second Republican in the U.S. Senate to back same-sex marriage.
Rick Garcia is director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project. He says momentum is growing for marriage equality, especially among Republicans.
Opponents like Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute disagree. Higgins says Kirk and other Republicans who back gay marriage are contributing to the destruction of marriage and diminished religious liberty.
CHICAGO (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois says he supports same-sex marriage.
Kirk said in a post on his blog Tuesday that same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. He says what matters in life is who you love and "government has no place in the middle."
Kirk previously voted to end the policy barring gays from openly serving in the military, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He's a lead co-sponsor of a bill to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and has opposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Kirk is Illinois' ranking Republican lawmaker.
By DAVID CRARY
NEW YORK (AP) - However the Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage, the issue seems certain to divide Americans and the states for years to come.
After considering two cases involving gay couples' rights this week, the justices left open multiple options for rulings expected in June. But they signaled there was no prospect of imposing a 50-state solution at this stage.
With nine states allowing same-sex marriages and other states banning them, that means a longer spell with a patchwork marriage-rights map - and no early end to bruising battles in the courts, legislatures and at the ballot box.
Opponents of same-sex marriage seem resigned to a divided nation where the debate will continue to splinter families, communities, churches.
Supporters of same-sex marriage believe a nationwide victory is inevitable, though perhaps not imminent.
The gathering in Jefferson City coincides with the second day of U.S. Supreme Court arguments focused on whether same-sex couples can marry and receive the legal rights and benefits associated with marriage.
Some rally participants in Missouri asserted that it is "immoral" to ban gay marriage, as is the case under the state constitution.
Rally participants also focused on bills that would prohibit discrimination or school bullying based on sexual orientation.
The event was coordinated by Promo, an organization that advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.
Several Democratic lawmakers attended the event.
The Democratic senator announced her support for gay marriage on her blog. She says churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside their religious beliefs, but she believes "government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love."
McCaskill's announcement comes the same week that the U.S. Supreme Court is to hear a challenge to California's gay-marriage ban.
Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
As recently as last year's Senate campaign, McCaskill said she supported states' rights to decide gay marriage and had no quarrel with Missouri's vote.
President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage last year.
After 13 years of raising four boys together, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier are about to be empty nesters. Their youngest two children will graduate from high school in June and head off to college.
Perry and Stier might also get married, if the high court case goes their way.
They recently talked to The Associated Press about their Supreme Court case. On Tuesday, they plan to be in the courtroom when their lawyer tries to persuade the justices to strike down California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages and to declare that gay couples can marry nationwide.