Springfield, Ill., Dec 2, 2010 / 06:13 am
The Illinois legislature passed a bill on Dec. 1 that will establish same-sex civil unions in state law. While the state's Catholic governor Pat Quinn said his faith prompted him to support the bill, his bishop has warned that the governor's actions clearly contradict Church teaching.
“If the Governor wishes to pursue a secular agenda for political purposes, that is his prerogative, for which he is accountable to the voters,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., after the contentious vote.
“But if he wishes to speak as a Catholic, then he is accountable to Catholic authority,” he continued, “and the Catholic Church does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.” In the governor's case, the local “Catholic authority” is Bishop Paprocki himself.
The Springfield Journal-Register quoted the governor as saying, “My religious faith animates me to support this bill.”
“He did not say what religious faith that would be,” Bishop Paprocki noted. “But it certainly is not the Catholic faith.”
Governor Quinn has promised to sign the civil union measure into law, following its passage in the state's House and Senate. Local reports indicated that the Democratic governor received a standing ovation from members of his own party, following the 61-52 vote in the Senate.
The governor joined Democratic Representative Greg Harris, the self-described “highest ranking openly gay elected official in the State of Illinois,” in supporting the initiative.
The bill drew opposition from Chicago's Cardinal Francis George, as well as the Catholic Conference of Illinois, due to its potential impact on the Church's work in adoption and foster care.