Springfield, Ill., Mar 8, 2011 / 00:40 am
The U.S. bishops are urging Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to sign an anti-death penalty law after weeks of indecision on the state leader's part, saying that the legislation would help build a “culture of life in our country.”
“Respect for life applies to all, even the perpetrators of terrible acts,” Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California wrote to Gov. Quinn on March 3. Bishop Stockton serves as chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the U.S. Bishops' Conference.
The landmark Senate Bill 3539 abolishing the death penalty passed through the Illinois legislature in January and now awaits Gov. Quinn’s approval.
At an event at the University of Illinois on Jan. 19, Gov. Quinn says he'd like feedback from the citizens of Illinois before he decides whether to sign the legislation. He added that he is currently going through a period of what he called “reflection and review” and has not indicated when he will make a decision. According to local news outlets, the governor has until March 18 to sign the bill into law before it takes effect without his signature.