Yesterday, approximately 50 signatures from Illinois-based business leaders have filed an open letter in support of legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in the Land of Lincoln. A vote on legalizing marriage equality will be coming in February, with the 5th (two days after the Super Bowl) as the soonest date available.
State lawmakers aren't scheduled to be at the Capitol much until early February, and sponsors of a measure to grant gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry are likely to need some time to win over dozens of rookie colleagues. But in an open letter issued Sunday, business executives stated their case to lawmakers that marriage equality would strengthen the Illinois workforce and boost economic development.The law, once legalized, will bring lots of economic benefits to Illinois.
"To be competitive, a state must create an equitable, fair and respectful environment for all of its citizens," the letter said. "For this reason — among others — it is vitally important that Illinois lawmakers enact marriage equality soon."
In addition to Google, Orbitz Worldwide and Groupon, individual signers of the letter include Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.; Lance Chody, CEO of Garrett Popcorn Shops; Fred Eychaner, chairman of the Newsweb Corp.; and Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. Eychaner and Ricketts are openly gay executives who are helping fund the statewide push for same-sex marriage, the Tribune has reported.
While the bill exempts religious institutions from having to consecrate same-sex marriages, religious leaders worry that it would not protect their rights to freely exercise their religious beliefs because they would have to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their business practices. For example, they might be forced to provide health insurance to an employee's same-sex spouse.