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By Kathleen Gilbert

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, October 25, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-family leaders in Illinois are preparing for a battle to preserve traditional marriage in the state as supporters of a homosexual civil unions bill eye a post-election lame duck session as a golden opportunity to push the measure through.

Governor Pat Quinn has said that he expects the bill to be through by Christmas, expressing confidence earlier this month that “the votes are there” to get the bill through the House. Rick Garcia, founder of Equality Illinois, has said his group is “thrilled” at Quinn's leadership on the issue.

Quinn's GOP opponent in the gubernatorial race, state Senator Bill Brady, has said he would veto a civil unions bill should it reach his desk; however, Brady would only assume office after the measure's window of opportunity in the lame-duck session, during which Quinn would have signed the bill.

David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com this week that he was “very concerned” about the electoral climate surrounding the civil unions legislation. The bill could be voted on either in the middle or at the end of November.

“We don't know how many lame duck lawmakers are going to go back to Springfield after the midterm election … and of course, a bunch of lame-duckers don't have anything politically to lose,” said Smith.

The fight over same-sex “marriage” in the state began four years ago when openly homosexual Chicago Democrat state Rep. Greg Harris introduced a same-sex “marriage” bill, but then offered the homosexual civil unions bill after the marriage measure failed to gain traction. Smith noted that Harris chairs the committee that passed the civil unions bill, the House Youth and Family Committee.

Last year supporters unsuccessfully attempted to push through the civil unions language by inserting it in a gutted Senate-passed bill – a method that would have skipped the constitutional requirement for three separate readings of the language.

60 House votes are needed to pass the measure. Smith said only about 52 have been secured.

The pro-family leader cautioned that citizens should not be fooled into thinking that the civil unions bill is less dangerous than a full-blown same-sex “marriage” bill.

“It is gay marriage,” said Smith. “It will have the same effects on religious freedom and freedom of conscience as gay marriage has.” Smith pointed out that Rep. Deborah Mell, another openly homosexual legislator, and lobbyist Rick Garcia have both vowed that the civil unions bill would be a mere stepping stone to same-sex “marriage,” which could come about through an activist court ruling.

Meanwhile, he noted that Tim Gill, a well-known funder of pro-homosexualist legislators across the country, has already begun funding the state Democratic party as well as individual liberal legislators, as revealed by the Capitol Fax Blog.

“They're not gonna stop,” said Smith.

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