African American clergy members amp up support of gay marriage - FOX 10 News |

African American clergy members amp up support of gay marriage

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A group of black Chicago area clergy members say they're supporting gay marriage not as a religious issue, but because it's a matter of equality.

Senate Bill 10 would re-define marriage in Illinois by changing the state's legal definition of marriage, rom "between a man and a woman" to "between two persons,"

The bill passed the Illinois Senate, but faces tough prospects in the Illinois House. Speaker Michael Madigan has estimated it's a dozen votes short.

State legislators return to work on Monday after a two-week spring break. It's unclear if they have the votes to pass it.

The pastors said Thursday that they're reaching out to lawmakers in Springfield and in Chicago.

The group includes the Rev. Carlton Pearson, who was once a leading Pentecostal minister until he began teaching that everyone goes to heaven, including gays. The move angered many. He says it's a risk when clergy members support gay marriage because of potential backlash, but feels it's the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, another group of black pastors is opposing the bill. They include former state senator, the Rev. James Meeks.

The African American Clergy Coalition and Cardinal Francis George will be joining forces on Friday, to express their opposition to the new legislation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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