Illinois ‘Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act’ is Neither Free Nor Fair for People of Faith

Thomas More SocietyA press release from the Thomas More Society:

Thomas More Society To Battle Against Anticipated Intolerance and Repression

— As Illinois implements the new same-sex marriage law, titled “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” the Thomas More Society prepares to defend the religious rights that the legislation does not explicitly protect.

“The bill is called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. But this act is neither free nor fair for people of religious convictions,” explained Peter Breen, Vice President and Senior Counsel of the Thomas More Society. “Because the general assembly left out specific protections for individuals, businesses, religious organizations, and religious charities, we will have to discover the boundaries of this act through litigation.”

Litigation is something that the Thomas More Society is prepared to handle. The national not-for-profit public interest law firm has been defending the First Amendment rights of American citizens for fifteen years, and has been at the forefront of the gay marriage debate in Illinois.

“The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” stated Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel at the Thomas More Society. “This affects believers in myriad ways — how they live out their faith, how they educate their children, and how they operate their businesses.”

Brejcha and Breen are not alone in their criticism of the law that has legalized gay marriage in Illinois. A group of distinguished legal scholars also cautioned Illinois legislators about the negative implications for religious liberty in sanctioning same-sex marriage without any meaningful accommodation for fundamental First Amendment freedoms. These law professors criticized the act’s vague and undefined terminology, warning that it “leaves it to litigation to determine” what religious liberties will actually be protected.

Read the Thomas More Society’s original letter to Illinois legislators warning, “Pending Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Bill Would Be Worst in US in Protecting Religious Liberty.”

Read the letter from distinguished legal scholars to Illinois senators regarding “Religious liberty implications of same-sex marriage.”

About the Thomas More Society

Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm that exists to restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro-bono professional legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court.