Anti-gay NOM expands target, opposes civil unions

WASHINGTON --The National Organization for Marriage, the nation’s leading anti-gay group whose stated mission is to stop same-sex marriage, is actively working to defeat the passage of the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (SB 1716) in Illinois.

This bill would allow same-sex couples to enter into a legal civil union in the state; it does not provide for same-sex marriages. A vote on the bill is expected soon in the Illinois legislature.

“NOM’s opposition to civil unions for gay and lesbian couples shows how far out of the mainstream it truly is,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said. “This new battleground plainly reveals NOM's deep-seated enmity toward the LGBT community, with no regard to public support."

Two-thirds of Illinois voters, according to an October 2010 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, support either civil unions or marriage equality. A Chicago Tribune poll registered 57 percent of Illinoisans approve of civil unions, compared to 32 percent who disapprove.

NOM recently sent out an action alert urging voters to send a form letter to Illinois lawmakers to vote ‘no’ on the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.

HRC continues to mobilize our members in Illinois to make sure legislators hear their support for the bill that Representative Greg Harris, Equality Illinois, and others have been working on for years.

HRC and the Courage Campaign are engaged in a national, sustained effort to expose the National Organization for Marriage (www.NOMExposed.org) and to challenge its attempts to repeal or deny marriage equality to same-sex couples. The collaboration's latest video, “In Their Own Words,” offers a glimpse into the organization, including NOM Chairman Maggie Gallagher, who has said being gay is a “sexual disability” and NOM Board member and science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card, who has threatened to destroy the government if marriage equality becomes a reality.

In 2011-12, NOM will likely be engaged in marriage battles in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Iowa, Minnesota and New York. Additionally, the group is fighting campaign finance laws in a number of states, including New York, Washington, California and Maine, where it remains under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission for failing to register with the state as a ballot question committee and refusing to disclose the donors to its campaign to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law in 2009.

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