Kudos to the the Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette for accurately representing the anti-scientific "ex-gay" advocacy that has come to define the coalition opposing marriage equality in the state of Illinois. Kudos, because reports like this really help to give insight into what is challenging civil rights in the state. Hint: It goes way beyond the issue of marriage.
Here's a snip from that paper's report on Wednesday's anti-marriage equality lobby day, with comments from some of the more incendiary speakers:
Pastor Richard Giovannetti of the Standing in the Word Ministries of Morris, told the crowd that "when we have gay marriage we are going to enslave millions of people back into a lifestyle that we know that God can set them free from."
Pastor Linda Jernigan, who said she was "a former lesbian" who now operates a ministry in the Chicago area, asked repeatedly, "Did you know that God can deliver homosexuals?"
She said it was "a chosen behavior" and that "if you allow God, He can change your behavior."
"Don't believe the lie," she said, "that homosexuality is a civil right. It is not a civil right. Homosexuality is a choice."
FULL REPORT: Foes lobby against same-sex marriage law [News Gazette]
More Illinois reporters should follow suit. This "ex-gay" component is not just part of the story—this is the story! If you have one side telling voters, lawmakers, and whoever else will listen that LGBT people can and should be changed, how can you even begin to have a debate on the constituional merits of civil marriage?
**SEE ALSO: Linda Jernigan's GLAAD CAP profile