News (USA)

‘Hate group’ Illinois Family Institute moves to intervene in marriage lawsuit

‘Hate group’ Illinois Family Institute moves to intervene in marriage lawsuit

The Illinois Family Institute, a Carol Stream-based anti-gay organization, has filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit challenging the state’s current marriage law, which prohibits the recognition of same-sex couples. The move by the organization makes it the second anti-gay group to get involved in the suit against marriage equality.

“There’s a number of different reasons why we filed, chief among them is the concern for religious liberty in Illinois and across the country,” said David Smith, IFI’s executive director. “Gay rights and religious liberty cannot co-exist.”

In addition, Smith said they wish to intervene because his organization lobbied for and helped pass the state’s marriage ban challenged in the suit.

The motion was filed in court July 13, he said.

If approved by a Cook County judge, the IFI would join the Thomas More Society, a conservative political action group which represents two downstate Illinois county clerks in defending the state’s ban.

Two lawsuits to overturn the ban were filed in May by the ACLU of Illinois and Lambda Legal, which have since been consolidated into a single lawsuit due to be heard in Cook County Circuit Court this fall.

High-ranking Illinois lawmakers including Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez have all vowed not to support the state’s law when the case goes to court. Cook County Clerk David Orr, who is named as the defendant in the lawsuit, has also said he would do nothing to defend the law.

Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor said the organization will oppose the IFI’s motion.

“There are already parties in this case who are committed to defending the marriage ban,” Taylor said. “This is a radical hate group with extremist views about lesbian and gay people, and they have no standing to intervene in this case. Just because you have a strong personal opinion doesn’t give you the right to intervene in someone else’s lawsuit.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified the IFI as an anti-gay hate group.

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