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Gay marriage opponents gather at Capitol
by Matt Simonette

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Opponents of a bill that would bring same-sex marriage to Illinois filled the rotunda of the State Capitol in Springfield Oct. 23.

The gathering, which kicked off an anti-gay marriage lobby day, came a day after several thousand same-sex marriage supporters gathered for the March on Springfield.

Over a thousand people attended the Oct. 23 rally, which opened with renditions of "God Bless America" and "Amazing Grace." Many people brandished anti-gay marriage signs, while one man was dressed as Abraham Lincoln.

Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Baptist Church characterized the struggle against gay marriage as one testing the moral fiber of his community. "We don't want the moral fiber to go down, wasted."

"A man cleaves to his wife, not his 'partner,'" added Trotter.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, who opposes SB10, joked, "I think there's more people here than have signed up for Obamacare nationwide."

He said that although he generally opposes the expansion of government, the state hD a responsibility to protect sanctity of marriage.

"There are times when a government has a solid duty to protect all citizens," Dillard said.

Many of the speakers characterized their opposition to same-sex marriage as being about protection of children. Fr. Charles Fanelli of St. Thomas More Parish framed gay marriage as a "social experiment" like divorce that could potentially devastate families. Stephanie Trussell of WLS-AM spoke of her distress at learning that a Gay Straight Alliance had formed at a local high school.

"The enemy is hunting our children," Trussell said.

Linda Jerrigan said that she was in a lesbian relationship for 15 years, but 10 years ago was born again and now characterizes herself as an "ex-homosexual."

She characterized homosexuality as one of many vices that can be overcome through belief in Jesus Christ.

"All we need to do is send the homosexuals to Jesus," Jerrigan said.

Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality held up and mocked the children's book Daddy's Roommate, as well as a book by Dan Savage.

He also spoke out against the religious left, many of whom have been outspoken in their support of SB10. Those institutions are using morality as grounds for their support.

"But Jesus Christ was a friend of sinners, not a friend of sin," LaBarbera said.

Among the other speakers were state Sen. James Oberweis and Peter Breen of Thomas More Society.

At some points after the inside rally, a few dozen marchers at a time walked around the Capitol in a prayer vigil. There were never more than 50-75 people making the cold march around at any one time.

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