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State

Clergy members amp up support of gay marriage

CHICAGO – A group of black Chicago area clergy members say they're supporting gay marriage not as a religious issue, but because it's a matter of equality.

Legislation allowing same sex couples to marry faces tough prospects in the Illinois House. Speaker Michael Madigan has estimated it's a dozen votes short.

The pastors said Thursday that they're reaching out to lawmakers.

The group includes the Rev. Carlton Pearson, who was once a leading Pentecostal minister until he began teaching that everyone goes to heaven, including gays. The move angered many. He says it's a risk when clergy members support gay marriage because of potential backlash, but feels it's the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, another group of black pastors is opposing the bill. They include former state senator, the Rev. James Meeks.

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