The Faith and Freedom Initiative is part of the Equality Illinois Education Project's ongoing mission is to:
- Identify welcoming congregations;
- Build stronger relationships with communities of faith who share our interest in issues of justice and fairness;
- Emphasize the positive relationship between religion and equality for all versus the persistent misconception that the majority of faith communities oppose equality for LGBTQ people.
NEW! "Equality In Your Faith Community: A Guide to LGBT-Inclusive Religious Practices" is a compilation of contributions from faith communities across Illinois and is designed to share best practices based on real experience and grassroots learning. Some communities of faith already practice these thoughtful and creative ways to show their support, and some are looking for ways to further their inclusion and deepen their welcome. Many are seeking a way to become a welcoming and affirming community through and through. We trust this guide will serve the needs of all communities of faith regardless of where they are in their inclusive journey.
If you would like to see a condensed version of this guide, please download the companion brochure and share with your community of faith!
SUPPORTIVE CLERGY WHO WILL PERFORM CIVIL UNIONS:
Dear Supporter of Equality,
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act passed the Illinois General Assembly in 2010 and Gov. Quinn signed the bill into law on January 31, 2011. This bill becomes effective on June 1, 2011. Equality Illinois has received inquiries from same-sex couples across the State who are interested in having a religious civil union ceremony, blessed by a clergy member of their faith. No clergy member is obligated under law to perform a civil union ceremony, but we wanted to make a list available to the general public for those clergy whose religious practices allow them to perform a same sex civil union (please note this bill also applies to opposite sex couples).
As part of EQIL's ongoing mission to identify welcoming congregations and build stronger relationships with communities of faith who share our interest in issues of justice and fairness, we put together this listing of clergy who can (please click on the links for listings):
1. Perform a same-sex civil union ceremony:
2. Perform a same-sex civil union ceremony in place of worship/sanctuary.
Please keep the following in mind when looking through this list and making a choice:
--Some communities of faith may only perform ceremonies for members of their congregation; this may involve becoming a member of that community.
--Some communities of faith may require pre-ceremony counseling; many times this is similar to a class or brief set of courses, typically to prepare a couple for living life as a couple, or to educate the couple in that particular faith.
--Some communities of faith may not be able to perform an interfaith ceremony, and may require that both partners be of the same faith.
--Some communities of faith may charge a fee for the use of their sanctuary, musicians, clergy, etc.
--Some communities of faith may be willing to perform your ceremony, but may not be able to perform it in their house of worship, according to their community's rules. You may have to elect to have the ceremony at an off-site venue.
--Some communities of faith do not have a regular house of worship but will happily perform the civil union ceremony.
We strongly urge you to contact the clergy member or place of worship FIRST and get all the details before making your final choice.
We, at Equality Illinois would like to congratulate you and your partner on your upcoming union and, as always, we promise to continue the battle for equality for all citizens of Illinois.
Whether you are a newly out LGBTQ person in your community of faith, someone who is a friend or family member of an LGBTQ person, or perhaps just someone looking for information, we hope that this guide can be of use to you. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list; there are many resources available, and no one book or website has all the answers. Our hope is that we may offer you access to information to help you begin to answer your questions.
Equality Illinois traveled the state and posed these questions to clergy: Why do you support marriage equality? What is your definition of love? The answers we received are documented in our "Stories from the Heartland" series. The videos from this series as well as our annual Interfaith Equality Prayer Breakfast are all part of our "Faith and Freedom Initiative," which focuses on building partnerships with affirming clergy and congregations across Illinois.