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posted: 3/26/2014 8:28 PM

Unitarian Universalists reaffirm support for marriage equality in McHenry County

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Patrick Murfin

The Rev. Sean Parker Dennison of the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 56503 Bull Valley Road in McHenry, is disappointed that McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz refused to issue a wedding license to Rodrigo Perez and his partner Marco Mendoza of Huntley.

"Whatever the motivation, it seems discriminatory and punitive," Dennison said, in light of the court case in Cook County which allowed same gender marriages to go forward in Cook County. "Attorney General Lisa Madison has ruled that all Illinois counties may now begin issuing licenses in advance of the June 1 statutory date. Several counties have done so. And, as she points out the overwhelming result of recent legal actions across the country have supported marriage equality."

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Dennison's denomination, the Unitarian Universalist Association, has long been a supporter of marriage equality and his congregation, along with allies from the local chapter of Parents and Families of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG) conducted a high profile campaign in support of Illinois marriage equality legislation last year that included roadside vigils and lobbying in mass at local legislators' offices.

The congregation is preparing to perform and host marriage ceremonies as soon they are legal in McHenry County. "We can't wait to be part of joyful celebrations. We would welcome couples as soon as possible. It's a natural extension of Tree of Life's commitment to justice and equality."

The congregation is also planning to hold a wedding for couples just after they can obtain McHenry County licenses. "Sunday Services on June 8 at 10:45 will be turned into a wedding with a big reception after. We are offering this to any couple -- preferably same sex, but if we have room, any couple -- who does not have sufficient resources, lacks family or community support for the wedding they dream of, or who just want to celebrate with us. I will officiate, but each couple will also have their own leader or Officiant for their vows. If weather is nice, we may have the service outdoors on our beautiful grounds. The reception to follow will feature cake and entertainment."

For information on the June service and celebration or to arrange other wedding services contact the church office at (815) 322-2464 or e-mail minister@treeoflifeuu.org.

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