By Manya Brachear
8:17 AM PST, December 23, 2012
More than 250 Illinois clergy -- most of them in the Chicago area -- have endorsed a gay marriage bill that could come up for a vote in Springfield before Jan. 9.
On Sunday, rabbis and pastors from denominations that support gay rights in varying degrees unveiled a declaration supporting equality for same-sex couples. Fostering faith, justice and compassion is a key component of their jobs, they said.
"Standing on these beliefs, we think that it is morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same-sex couples.," the declaration stated. "There can be no justification for the law treating people differently on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Earlier this month, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris announced they would take up the measure as the current General Assembly winds down in January and before a new set of lawmakers are sworn in Jan. 9.
The legislation would allow same-sex marriage and protect the right of religious institutions to either consecrate or not consecrate such weddings. Opponents to the bill say gay marriage violates Scripture, natural law and basic moral principles.
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