SPRINGFIELD, IL, November 7, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In its report Wednesday on the Illinois legislature’s passage of same-sex “marriage,” the Chicago Tribune cited two developments since May that helped the bill’s backers get the final votes they needed: the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling and Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality.

The paper quotes two Catholic state representatives who cited Pope Francis in explaining their decision to support the measure: Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia and House Speaker Michael Madigan. Madigan reportedly also secured between five and 10 additional votes to redefine marriage.

The papal comments at issue came in an interview with reporters in July on Pope Francis’ flight back from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" the pope said.

According to the Tribune, those comments “sparked a wave of soul-searching by several Catholic lawmakers who had battled to reconcile their religious beliefs with their sworn duty to represent their constituents who were increasingly supportive of gay rights even as Cardinal Francis George remained opposed.”

Rep. Chapa LaVia said: "As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people.”

Speaker Madigan did not name the pope, but made a clear reference to his comments. "For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?" he said.

The lawmakers’ comments are the latest in a campaign to twist the Pope’s remarks in recent interviews to support a progressive agenda opposed to Catholic moral teaching. The Pope has been clear, however, that he is a “son of the Church” and supports traditional Catholic teaching.

In his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, released in July, Pope Francis reiterated the Church’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

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As Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2009, the future Pope called homosexual “marriage” a “machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God,” and “a destructive pretension against the plan of God.”

The Illinois same-sex “marriage” bill passed the House Tuesday in a vote of 61-54 and now heads to the desk of Governor Pat Quinn. Once he signs it into law, which he has promised to do, it will make Illinois the 15th state to enshrine same-sex “marriage.”