Amongst the steady blare of car horns in support and occasional obscene gestures in derision, 10 men from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) protested against gay marriage Friday afternoon at the intersection of Rand and Dundee Roads in Palatine.
The group drove 800 miles from York, Pa., to stage several protests across Illinois this week following the state's adoption of a civil union law, which went into effect on June 1 of this year, allowing same-sex couples many of the same legal protections as marriage.
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After its enactment, 1,399 couples were issued civil union licenses in Lake, Cook, DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties in June and July.
"We believe that family values are undermined by same-sex marriage," said John Ritchie, the Student Action Director for the TFP, which is a Roman Catholic group. "Same sex violates God's law, nature's law and deliberately deprives children of either a mother or father."
His group, which held up signs stating "God's Marriage = 1 Man & 1 Woman" and "Honk for Traditional Marriage," have been on a weeklong Illinois tour, with Palatine being their last stop.
Ritchie said he hopes with peaceful protests to see a culture that respects life and marriage.
"Our goal is to work within the culture so that same sex marriage will be rejected from the get go," he added.
Ritchie says he has been faced with mostly positive reactions, noting that rallies on the South Side of Chicago drew the most supporters. Meanwhile, he says, the demonstrators also have encountered numerous critics, including one passer-by in Palatine who hurled a doughnut at the group.
The TFP was joined by Jim Finnegan, the president of the Illinois Defense of Marriage Initiative.
Finnegan, an Arlington Heights resident, is working to gather half a million signatures for an advisory referendum on the 2012 ballot.
"I believe strongly that people should be able to vote on the issue and that's why we're here," added Finnegan, 76. "We want to make our presence known so that people can express their opinion on the ballots."