More than 200 faith leaders are backing efforts to pass same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Illinois Unites for Marriage, a new coalition formed to support the passage of a marriage equality in the state, announced Dec. 23 that clergy and other faith leaders have issued an open letter in support of marriage equality.
LGBT advocates and lawmakers say that HB 5170, which would legalize same-sex marriage, could come to a vote in early January.
In a letter supporting that effort, religious leaders said that extending marriage to same-sex couples was a matter of justice and conscience.
"We dedicate our lives to fostering faith and compassion, and we work daily to promote justice and fairness for all," the letter reads, according to a statement by Illinois Unites for Marriage. "Standing on these beliefs, we think that it is morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same-sex couples. There can be no justification for the law treating people differently on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
According to that statement, the letter also refutes claims that bill would force unwilling faith institutions to perform marriages to same-sex couples.
More than 35 groups are part of the new coalition. Anti-gay groups have also formed a coalition the counter efforts to pass the bill.