Illinois is now set to become the 15th US state to legalize same-sex "marriage," as the state House approved legislation on Tuesday with a vote of 61-54.
The governor, Pat Quinn, has promised to sign the legislation, .
The Illinois Catholic Conference responded to the vote with a statement saying the "decision by Illinois lawmakers to change the definition of marriage not only goes against the common consensus of the human race – which understands that nature tells us that marriage is the union of one man and one woman – but it also undermines an institution that is the cornerstone of a healthy society."
"The optimal condition in which to raise children is a home that includes both a mother and father, since women and men are not interchangeable," the Catholic Conference added.
The statement noted that the lawmakers make a choice outside of their authority: to redefine a natural institution.
"We remain concerned about the very real threats to religious liberty that are at stake with the passage of this bill," the conference also noted.
The Catholic Conference said opposition to the bill had been "truly bipartisan and ecumenical," which it said is "reflective of the fact that a marriage is universally understood as being between a man and a woman."