Written by David E. Smith, IFA Executive Director
Despite the fact that Illinois is facing serious financial and unemployment issues, including a bankrupt pension system, the Illinois Senate recently approved a bill to redefine marriage and family — on St. Valentine’s Day no less.
The vote results were 34-21 with 2 voting present. This destructive and foolish decision reveals the ignorance — or in some cases cowardice — of those who voted for the legal recognition of same-sex unions as marriage. Lawmakers who approved this proposal have now formally and publicly declared that government-sanctioned marriage has no inherent connection to sexual complementarity or reproductive potential. They have proclaimed that the sole inherent constituent feature of marriage is love.
One of the legislators in the Illinois Senate who joined with anti-family proponents of same-sex marriage is Jason Barickman, a freshman Republican Senator from Bloomington. Barickman, as recently as last week, pledged to McLean County GOP Chairman John Parrott that he was against the proposal. He didn’t follow through on that promise.
In the IFI Voter Guide, he also claimed to support an Illinois marriage amendment to permanently define marriage as one man, one woman in the state constitution. Did Barickman “evolve” on this issue over the past four months like President Barack Obama? Barickman may think that his four-year term will help insulate him from the consequences of his foolish vote; but the fact that he was the lone Republican to vote to pass this anti-family measure in the Illinois Senate will certainly make him a tier one target in the Republican primary in 2016.
What makes matters worse is the fact that Senator Barickman’s district includes the city of Paxton, the site of Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast. The small business is owned by Jim Walder, a father of five children who is under attack from homosexual activists because he doesn’t want to rent his facility for a homosexual ceremony. You see, Mr. Walder is a Christian, and the celebration of homosexuality violates his deeply-held beliefs. He only wants to operate his business for the honor and glory of the Lord. The liberal agents of tolerance and diversity cannot abide this.
Both the Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Human Rights are suing him. It’s been an emotionally devastating experience for the Walders who did not ask for this battle. The government of Illinois is determined to make Mr. Walder bow at the altar of progressive humanism. If he does not, he will be punished.
Thanks in part to the vote earlier this week, our lawmakers in the Illinois Senate, including Mr. Walder’s own state senator, Jason Barickman, gave approval to a radical liberal social policy that provides pitifully weak religious liberty protections for churches and clergy members. Lay people of faith and moral conscience, people like Jim Walder, have absolutely no protection.
Moreover, Senator Barickman is misleading people by suggesting the only reason he voted for the same-sex marriage bill is because he wanted to protect religious liberties. That claim is, at best, disingenuous.
These are his own words from the senate floor — speaking in favor of marriage redefinition:
“Along with these religious protections, I believe the people of Illinois want our government to give individuals freedom over their life decisions. We want fairness under the law. And so for me, this is simply the right thing to do. I will be voting yes to Senate Bill 10. Thank you.”
“Freedom?” — homosexuals have the liberty to have relationships with any consenting adult they wish. Who is denying them “freedom?”
“Fairness?” — the suggestion is that homosexual relationships are equal to that of heterosexual relationships. That is not true. Homosexual relationships are NOT equal to one man, one woman marriage. Treating them as if they were different is fair. They are different! Moreover, is it fair that Christian business-owners like Jim Walder have to violate their convictions and violate their religious beliefs or face government legal action and penalties?
“The right thing to do?” — the right thing to do would have been to speak and vote in favor of the institutions of marriage and family and not cave into the pressure from the homosexual lobby. The right thing to do would have been to fight for the best interest of children, freedom of conscience, religious liberty and the traditional culture of Illinois. The right thing to do would have been to stand boldly against the radical agents of change.
Sen. Barickman’s closing arguments on the Illinois Senate floor are shocking. He used all the right liberal slogans in his advocacy for this terrible legislation. His predecessor, Senator Shane Cultra, would have never succumbed to the lies of the Left.
IFI’s Laurie Higgins proposes that Sen. Barickman and other proponents of marriage redefinition answer this question: “If government-recognized marriage is solely about love with no inherent connection to either sexual complementarity or reproductive potential, why shouldn’t plural marriages or homosexual sibling ‘marriages’ be legalized?”
Or to put it more plainly, if marriage is solely about “love,” why are we banning the “B” in LGBTQ from marrying both a male and a female? Why limit it to only two? Of course, it isn’t hard to imagine that this will be on the slippery slope agenda in a few short years.
Take ACTION: Send an email to Senator Barickman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let him know how disappointed you are in his willingness to abandon the families and traditional values that make Illinois and America great. You can also call his district office at (309) 661-2788.
Any lawmaker who claims that this law will not undermine religious liberty, freedom of conscience or parental rights is either foolish or lying.