Gay couples who want to get married in a church now have a guide to clergy who will officiate. The religious officiant list from the gay rights group Equality Illinois includes 250 clergy of various denominations who will marry same-sex couples.
The Rev. Sonja Ingebritsen of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Carbondale is one of them, and she says her phone is ringing, and not just from local inquiries. “A number of calls that I’m getting are from couples who are out-of-state who don’t expect to see marriage equality happening anytime in the near future, but for many of them, they’ve neen together five, 12, 20 years, and they are wanting to have their unions recognized legally” she said, mentioning Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee as places from which she has field calls.
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Same-sex couples can get married in states where it is legal, and that marriage will be recognized under federal law. Also, some states will recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, even if they don’t allow same-sex marriage in their state.
Of the clergy on the list, many, such as Ingebritsen, are from the United Church of Christ. Others are Unitarian Universalist, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal, Jewish Reform or non-denominational, with a smattering from some other denominations.
Ingebritsen says many gays have been pushed away from church, and she’s happy to welcome those; she says for those who have been churchgoers but who never dreamed they’d be able to get married in church, this is “hugely important.”
Counties where same-sex couples can be married now are Champaign, Clinton, Cook, DeKalb, Greene, Grundy, Hardin, Jackson, Macon, McLean, Ogle, Perry, St. Clair, Wabash, and Woodford. It’ll be the law statewide on June 1.
Under the law, clergy cannot be required to marry same-sex couples. Those who do so, do so voluntarily.