Local pastors welcome same-sex couples

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Some Heartland Pastors say it's about time the bill passes and are ready to welcome same sex couples without a second thought.

"Of course we can make a public statement of welcome, why wouldn't we? That is what we are called to do as Christian people," says Sonja Ingebritsen, a Reverend at The Church of Good Shepherd in Carbondale.

Reverend Ingebritsen says having straight, gay and all kinds of folks part of the congregation is just a part of the fabric that makes up her church.

Since 1989, the Church of the Good Shepherd has welcomed the unions of same sex couples and now looks forward to officiating actual weddings.

"We are one of the few churches that is able and willing to make that welcome in a very public way."

Pastor Don Vaugh-Foester with the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship welcomes same sex couples who want to get married in his church.

"The point is, is that we are either equal or we are not and if we treat each other as unequal then we might as well expect a lot of unequal treatment coming our way," says Reverend Vaughn Foerster.

The Reverends have a message any church who doesn't allow same sex marriages.

'I say, well, if that's their point of view, live by their point of view, and I will take the rest."

"If you are asking a Christian pastor to be involved in your wedding and that's the language in which the whole language is couched, that may not have significance for the couple involved."

Both churches don't consider themselves to be gay lesbian churches and say they say have plenty of heterosexual members.

They say like any other couple, sex couples will go through the same process if they want to get married in their church.

President Obama said in a statement he was "overjoyed" that legislators voted to legalize gay marriage.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel called the vote a "critical moment in history" for Illinois and the gay rights movement.

Not everyone in Illinois is so enthusiastic about the legalization of gay marriage.

To those who argue that gay couples should be able to marry in order to make legal decisions for one another, Illinois Family Institute Executive Director David Smith said they already can.

"Homesexual couples can get power of attorney anytime they want and if society wants to make it easier for them to do so, then let's talk about that," Smith said. "Let's not talk about redefining marriage."

Republican State Representative of Carbondale Mike Bost said he doesn't believe in same sex marriage, and that's always been his stance; and he believes, the stance of his district.

"This is an issue that in my district, and I believe I know my district very well, I believe that they believe marriage should be between a man and a woman," Bost said.

Smith said his former group will be taking action against those politicians who voted for the bill.

"We're going to probably be launching a political action committee to go after some of the vulnerable members who should not have voted for this yesterday," David Smith said.

Representatives Phelps and Bradley also voted against the bill.

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