Combs, a member of the Nauvoo (IL) Third Ward, decided that HB2234 poses enough of a threat to the traditional family to warrant preventive action. So she decided the best way to get her fellow ward members involved was to send them a mass e-mail through the Church's secure e-mail network. So she contacted her bishop, informed him of the subject of the e-mail, and Bishop Chris Church gave her his approval to use the network. Not because he necessarily agreed with the content; in fact, he later reiterated that participation in the campaign was strictly voluntary and not a test of faith. But he approved her request simply because it met the necessary criteria for using the e-mail network.
Read the full text of Illinois HB2234 HERE. KTVX news video embedded below:
Here's the text of the e-mail:
From: Kristy Combs (kristyc at mchsi dot com)
Date: March 3, 2009 12:27:59 PM CST
Subject: Civil Union bill scheduled for a hearing Thursday - calls needed
This message has been authorized for sending by Bishop Church.
The Civil Union Bill (HB 2234) has been scheduled for a hearing in the Youth and Family Committee this week on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield. If the bill is voted out of committee, it becomes eligible for a vote before the full Illinois House of Representatives. This bill will legalize civil unions in the state of Illinois, and will treat such civil unions with the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits as are afforded within marriage. In other words, civil unions will be different in name only from marriage. As has already been seen in Massachusetts, this will empower the public schools to begin teaching this lifestyle to our young children regardless of parental requests otherwise. It will also create grounds for rewriting all social mores; the current push in Massachusetts is to recognize and legalize all transgender rights (An individual in Massachusetts can now change their drivers license to the gender they believe themselves to be, regardless of actual gender, which means that confused men and women are now legally entering one another’s bathrooms and locker rooms. What kind of a safety issue is this for our children?). Furthermore, while the bill legalizes civil unions, it will be used in the courts to show discrimination and will ultimately lead to court mandated same-sex marriages.
To help defeat this bill, please call your state representative and state senator and ask that they support traditional marriage and vote against the civil unions bill. If you are unsure who your legislators are, please see the link at the end of this email.
Also, please take a moment and call the following members of the Youth and Family Committee to encourage them to vote no on this bill. We need 4 votes to keep it from passing out of the committee. And - as always, please pass this on to all who believe in protecting our families and our children. If you are interested in attending the hearing, it will be held on Thursday, March 5th at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield in Room 122B of the Capitol Building (I can give you directions to the Capitol Building if needed).
Members of the Youth and Family Committee:
Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) (Greg Harris is also the sponsor of this bill, but he needs to hear your opposition to this bill)
Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago)
Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago)
Rep. William D. Burns (D-Chicago)
Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago)
Rep. Al Riley (D-Matteson)
Rep. Dave Winters (R-Rockford)
Directions for identifying your legislators:
You can use the following link to identify your state legislators and their contact information:
http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/SelectSearchType.aspx?NavLink=1 (and enter your 9 digit zip code). If this link doesn’t work, you can use the general link www.ilga.gov and then click on ” legislator lookup” near the bottom of the page, then click on “by zip+4″. Type in your zip code, and you’ll see a list of your legislators. You want your state senator and state representative as they will be the ones voting on the bill.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Sister Combs.
Predictably, the left-wing and pro-gay blogosphere chimped out, with all the hysterical condemnation they normally direct towards anyone opposing the gay agenda, not just Mormons. Results of a Google blog search of the phrase "mormons oppose illinois civil unions" (without the quotes) can be viewed HERE. Some even suggested that the LDS Church officially put her up to it.
Not so, says official LDS spokesman Scott Trotter. Here's the statement he issued late on March 4th:
“As is widely known, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage. The Church has not taken a position on any legislation currently being considered by the Illinois State Legislature. The Church did not send an e-mail to its members in regards to House Bill 2234, although a false report to the contrary has been circulated. An e-mail was sent from a local Illinois Church leader to his congregation – one of 129 congregations in the state — who was free to express his own views.”
-Scott Trotter, Church spokesman
Kristy Combs is to be commended for her initiative, courage, and activism. The LDS Church is an activist church; it encourages people to get involved. That's why so many members are called to positions within a given ward. It is not intended to be a church for spectators.
Update: On March 5th, HB2234 was passed by the Youth and Family Committee by a 4-3 vote. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration. The bill guarantees some of the rights and responsibilities to persons in civil unions that are currently granted to persons in civil marriages. Among those rights are the ability to participate in healthcare visitation and decision making for one’s partner, survivor benefits and the right to make disposition decisions about deceased partner’s remains. The bill also re-affirms religious institutions’ right not to solemnize a civil union.