SPRINGFIELD -- Suburban residents joined hundreds of people who flocked to the Illinois Capitol Wednesday to oppose pending legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage.
"Children deserve a mother and a father," said Diane Fayard of Arlington Heights. "One of each, male and female."
The display of opposition comes almost one week after the Illinois Senate voted to allow same-sex marriage in Illinois, and while same-sex marriage supporters in the House work to line up votes.
Evelyn Getty, of Arlington Heights, said she opposes same-sex marriage because without both a male and female there is no possibility for new life.
"Life is our number one concept," Getty said. "Without life there's no society."
The Carol Stream-based Illinois Family Institute organized the day of lobbying, though Getty and Fayard weren't associated with the group.
Many members of the assembled crowd wore yellow circular buttons bearing the message: "Marriage. One Man, One Woman." And they fanned out through Capitol offices to talk to House lawmakers about the issue.
State Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat and sponsor of the same-sex marriage plan, said he welcomes the protester's participation in the public process.
"I just want to assure the folks who are coming that we are being very careful to protect religious freedom in our bill," Harris said. "Not only are we valuing equal protection under the law, but we're providing clear, broad exemptions. (We are) removing all possibility of lawsuit or liability to be sure that people are protected if they don't wish to consecrate same-sex marriage."
Harris said he did not know when supporters would bring the same-sex marriage legislation to a vote in the House.
It's clear, though, that both sides will make the issue a big one before lawmakers in the coming weeks.
Pastor Calvin Lindstrom of the Church of Christian Liberty in Arlington Heights spent some time on the Illinois House floor and with state Rep. Tom Morrison, a Palatine Republican.
"A large group of people who are standing against gay marriage hopefully send witness to both Republicans and Democrats," Lindstrom said.