There'a a push in Illinois for a constitutional ban on same sex marriages. If voters there give statewide approval to a ban on gay marriages it would not be binding. But supporters say it would send elected officials a strong message.
The Illinois Family Institute, a non profit group that bills itself as fostering an environment where families can flourish, has started a petition drive in Illinois to define marriage as a union only between a man and woman.
Randall Stuffelbeam is a member of the Constitution party. Stuffelbeam is circulating the petitions statewide as he campaigns for governor. "We're at county fairs and gunshows wherever I go to campaign."
Massachusetts is the only state that formally recognizes same sex marriages and nineteen states including Missouri have constitutional bans on the practice. Stuffelbeam says illinois needs to follow suit. "It's to force the justice system to understand there are a certain set of standards."
Opponents to the petition call the effort narrow minded and based on bigotry. Stuffelbeam disagrees. "They are using that language to separate us but it simply isn't true. We just don't support their lifestyle. We are not bigots or homophobic."
To get the same sex marriage issue placed on next November's ballot, supporters need to collect about 280,000 signatures by April 20th. Our calls to Equality Illinois, an advocacy group for the gay community, were not returned because of the holiday.