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posted: 10/5/2010 5:31 PM

Civil unions split Catholic candidates for 46th District representative

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The two candidates for state representative in Illinois' 46th House District attend the same Elmhurst parish, but hold different views on the legalization of civil unions and gay marriages.

Incumbent Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, and Democratic challenger Deborah O'Keefe-Conroy of Elmhurst both attend Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Parish but share different political beliefs.

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Reboletti said his faith leads him to oppose both civil unions and gay marriages. "I attend the same church that Deb attends and I was an altar boy there," he said. "I grew up in the Catholic faith and that's what my faith teaches me."

Conroy said she supports civil unions and leaves the definition of marriage up to religious organizations.

"I very much support civil unions," Conroy, 48, said. "And, yes, we do attend the same church where I've been teaching religious education in seventh grade for 15 years and my curriculum is the life of Jesus. And I have learned and taught my students that Jesus loves everyone. Everybody deserves to be treated the same way; therefore I absolutely support civil unions."

Reboletti said equal treatment can be attained through means other than legalizing civil unions for homosexual couples.

"I know that a lot of things that are involved in the civil unions I think can be taken care of through other legislative action that would allow partners to have pensions and other health benefits and the ability to go and visit their partners in hospitals," Reboletti said. "I think that's all something that can be dealt with, but I don't think that my faith has taught me that (civil unions and gay marriages are) something that should be recognized by the state."

In terms of marriages, Conroy said she sees all nonreligious marriages as civil unions something gay couples and all people are entitled to.

"A civil union and a marriage I think of as two different things," she said. "I think that marriage is defined in your place of worship and I think civil union is a legal right."

Reboletti and Conroy are squaring off to represent all or parts of Addison, Bensenville, Elmhurst, Itasca, Lombard, Villa Park and Wood Dale in the Illinois House of Representatives. The election is Nov. 2.

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