Greetings from Third Unitarian Church. I wanted to inform you of my strong support of Illinois House Bill 1826, the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.

As you know, the legislation extends a comprehensive package of basic legal protections and responsibilities offered through marriage to couples, including same-sex couples, who enter into a civil union in Illinois. House Bill 1826 also codifies existing constitutional protections for religious denominations across Illinois, reinforcing the right of any religious organization to determine those marriage ceremonies it will recognize or perform.

The bill ensures that all Illinois families have the opportunity to share the same legal protections and the same legal responsibilities. Our friends, neighbors and colleagues in same-sex relationships face the everyday challenges of life without these basic legal protections. Thousands of gay and lesbian couples across the state can no longer wait for “basic legal protections” offered by marriage laws. Many same-sex couples endure cruel experiences at the most crucial times in the couples’ lives together because the law currently treats them as strangers. This kind of injustice is repeated frequently in our state.

As people of faith, Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We seek justice equity and compassion in all human relations, and we oppose discrimination of all sorts. Indeed, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s position on this issue could not be clearer. In l996, the UUA formalized the support of many clergy and laity in our congregations through its denominational endorsement of marriage equity for same-sex couples.

I encourage you to support the passage of House Bill 1826. Along with members of our congregation.

Rev. Brian H. Covell

Pastor of Third Unitarian Church, in a letter to the state legislature