Chicago Teachers Union Supports Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) encourages members of the Illinois state legislature to support the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (HB5170), the marriage equality bill co-sponsored by State Representative Greg Harris (13th) and State Senator Heather Steans (7th). The bill would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, re-defining notions of family and increasing the possibility for children throughout the state to grow up in stable, nurturing environments.
Governor Pat Quinn has indicated support for this initiative and the CTU will support the signing of HB5170 if it is passed in the legislature.
“If the end result is the love of a child and the strengthening of the family bond, the parents’ sexual orientation should make no difference,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “All Illinois couples should be treated equally.”
All Illinois residents deserve equal rights and fair access to benefits under the law, but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals have long been discriminated against by marriage laws—laws that also fail to legally protect them in the same manner as legal protect provided for heterosexual couples. HB5170, which has the backing of a number of high-ranking local and national politicians, as well as business leaders and gay marriage activists, is a progressive leap toward equal rights that would make Illinois the tenth state in the country with legal same-sex marriage.
“We are in full support this measure for two reasons—the equality it will help bring to our union members who are in committed, same-sex relationships, and the stability it will provide for the children and families we serve,” Lewis said.
The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com.