Illinois Family Institute Warns Us About What Will Happen if the State Legalizes Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage could become legal in Illinois very soon if the state Senate votes the right way today — Governor Pat Quinn said he would support such a bill — and conservative Christian groups like the Illinois Family Institute are freaking out.

They love to talk about how they “love the sinner, hate the sin,” but in a recent piece by IFI’s Laurie Higgins, she demonstrates that love in the most Godly way possible (i.e. It’s non-existent).

The image on IFI’s website. I’m more offended by the use of comic sans than anything else.

Here’s one of the things she’s worried about if gay marriage becomes legal in our state (emphases mine):

Public schools will be hiring teachers who are in legal “homosexual marriages.” These teachers will put photos of their homosexual spouses on their desks and talk about their homosexual spouses to their students. Such images and ideas coming from teachers whom children love and admire will powerfully shape the feelings and beliefs of young boys and girls, particularly when such images and ideas are reinforced countless times in other cultural contexts. Such images and ideas will undermine what is being taught at home.

Oh, the horror…

Teachers putting pictures of their loved ones on their desks and talking to the class about the funny thing that happened with their partner last night during dinner? Scary shit. And what happens if students learn that their gay and lesbian teachers are not the immoral, perverted people conservative Christians make them out to be?


Higgins is also worried that schools may go a step further and hire these sexual deviants:

Some will argue that schools are already hiring teachers in homosexual relationships, so the legalization of same-sex marriage won’t change anything. They are only partly correct. Although schools are, unfortunately, already hiring teachers in homosexual relationships, once the government recognizes homosexual unions as marriages, administrators and school boards — particularly in elementary schools — will have the social stigma that makes them reluctant to hire teachers in homosexual unions knocked out from under them.

Yeah, it’s really too bad these schools administrators aren’t totally ashamed of hiring gays and lesbians… because that’s what IFI wants. Forget loving gay people. Higgins doesn’t even want them to get jobs in our public schools.

And what’s up with that “particularly in elementary schools” comment? Besides giving off the nasty impression that something awful will happen if we let gay people around children, she means to say that gay people shouldn’t be hired to teach young students because those kids are more impressionable and we don’t want them to ever have a positive connotation about anything homosexual.

Because teaching them that gay people are human beings, worthy of respect and dignity and equal rights, is a big no-no.

Paranoia much…?

And this, of course, is the chief motivation for homosexuals to pursue same-sex marriage when they already have all the benefits and privileges of marriage through Illinois’ civil union law.

Because separate but equal is still equal!

Already liberal “educators” exploit bullying-prevention programs, sex education, and English, social studies, and theater classes to advance their personal beliefs about homosexuality. We have lost sight of the truth that no arm of the government has the right to propagate non-factual beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality — including public schools.

Really? Math’s not on the list?! I’m offended. And after I spent all that time talking about transcendental numbers…

And damn those theater classes! Who knew performing on stage was part of the homosexual agenda? (Somehow, I acted in every show in high school — including the musicals — and did theater in college, too… and never caught Teh Gey.)

Anyway, her entire tirade is like this. She doesn’t want any “arm of the government” to spread lies about homosexuality, but that doesn’t stop her from doing it herself. (Case in point: If gay marriage is legalized, Higgins writes, “Children will be taught that either mothers or fathers are expendable.”)

Love the sinner. Hate the sin. And this is her version of loving the sinner.

You know what will really happen when gay marriage is legalized in Illinois?

Gays and lesbians will be able to get married.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Thegoodman

    How the hell are all of these bigots supposed to demonize the gays when they have positive gay role models? They will just be confused. Poor little kids, growing up with well rounded world views and positive influences.

  • Sven2547

    Gays might interact with children! They might even talk about being gay! THE HORROR!!!

  • Joshua Allen

    Ugh, yeah I live in Urbana and our local newspaper has run similar opinion pieces. I can’t read them, nor the comments section, not if I’m going to retain my some hope for humanity.

  • Ryan Jean

    And what’s up with that “particularly in elementary schools” comment?
    Besides giving off the nasty impression that something awful will happen
    if we let gay people around children, she means to say that gay people
    shouldn’t be hired to teach young students because those kids are more
    impressionable and we don’t want them to ever have a positive
    connotation about anything homosexual.

    I’d venture that it’s more of a dog-whistle.
    It’s a reference to the right-wing’s thoroughly debunked but never dying claim of a concrete link between homosexuality and pedophilia, done in such a way that like-minded bigots will easily get the reference while most of the rest will be oblivious, and that lack of clarity provides the wiggle room down the road to claim that she *only* meant it to be about “impressionable youths” and somehow conveniently *not at all* about demonizing gays with a lie, because she didn’t do the demonizing in explicit terms.

  • David Philip Norris

    Um, maybe things have changed since I was in school, and it might be different in other states, but how often do heterosexual teachers talk about their spouses in front of a class? I know, Higgins isn’t exactly a rational person, but still, I remember my teachers in primary, middle, and high school sticking mainly to curriculum.


  • jgp

    Laurie Higgins: “The truth is, however, that schools have no obligation to teach about
    every phenomenon that exists, nor do they have to include resources that
    affirm every phenomenon that exists”

    Can we please use this quote when it comes to teaching creationism in the science classroom?

  • WallofSleep

    “Public schools will be hiring teachers who are Christian. These
    teachers will put photos of their Christian spouses on their desks and
    talk about their Christian spouses to their students. Such
    images and ideas coming from teachers whom children love and admire will
    powerfully shape the feelings and beliefs of young boys and girls,
    particularly when such images and ideas are reinforced countless times
    in other cultural contexts. Such images and ideas will undermine what is
    being taught at home.”

    Try and float that out there and watch a wave of collective apoplexy ensue.

  • TooManyJens

    The N-G’s letter section is terrifying.

  • WallofSleep

    I took it as the bigoted cliché that since gays can’t breed, they need to indoctrinate your children in order to perpetuate their kind.

  • Ewan

    That looks like a rare moment of self-awareness from the IFI; their opposition to homosexuality IS motivated by ignorance and hatred.

  • jgeiger

    I live in southern Illinois. Once again, I took advantage of the sweet email app the IFI has to send a message to my state rep and state senator letting know my firm support for same-sex marriage.

  • Sven2547

    Depends on the teacher. Then I was in 5th grade, my teacher spoke of her late husband semi-frequently. He had died in an accident the year before.

  • Matthew Baker

    This sums it up nicely

  • Bad_homonym

    Actually I think it is recognition of how younger children are sponges , learning exactly what they are taught! Can’t teach them that gays are decent human beings like the rest of us! It flies in the face of the propaganda they have been spoon fed at home! The religious use young age as a spring board for their brand of bat-shittery and want no competition!

  • icecreamassassin

    Again, this whole ‘love the sinner’ thing is just very confusing. Do these people really think that the only requirement to ‘love’ someone is to say that they love them? Do actions and consequences not mean ANYTHING to these damn people?

    I have half-a-mind to think that Laurie Higgins is a deep cover liberal…

  • ortcutt

    Gay-teacher panic? Really? I guess they figure it worked in 2008 in California, but as time goes on, it’s becoming a worse and worse strategy, as the polling shows.


    It won’t matter how badly this Illinois Family Institute is proven wrong. They will learn nothing from it.

  • TooManyJens

    When I was in high school, I had a teacher who had married one of her professors so that he could stay in the country. She talked about him quite a bit. Good times.

  • TooManyJens

    I don’t know if there are any gay teachers in my daughter’s school (I mean, there probably are, just based on numbers) but she certainly has classmates with gay parents. Maybe the IFI would like to keep them and their kids out of the schools too.

  • Guest

    You know, parents are entirely expendabo

  • baal

    “will have the social stigma that makes them reluctant to hire teachers in homosexual unions knocked out from under them.”

    Oh darn?!

  • Kubricks_Rube

    So the IFI doesn’t believe gays and lesbians should be teachers and supports the right of school boards to discriminate against them on that basis? Interesting, given that Rob Schwarzwalder of the Family Research Council just said right here on Patheos that, “No one is demanding … that homosexuals be in any way harmed, demeaned, or persecuted.” The FRC has one funny dictionary, but that’s hardly news.

  • newavocation

    I guess the IFI doesnt have divorce lawyers in their membership.

  • Holytape

    I’m confused, is that picture saying that opposition to homosexuality is motivated by hatred and ignorance, which is true. So am I agreeing with IFI, that IFI is motivated by hatred and ignorance? And that teacher has a short hair cut, so she must be a feminist so I should dismiss her opinions out of hand, but she’s wearing a skirt so she must be a good girl who knows her place. But she must be in congress with the devil, since her top is so revealing, she’s holding a biology text book and she isn’t married. Also, where the hell is she pointing and why is she yelling at me? I’m too confused. IFI should throw some devil horns on a picture of Richard and write “Gay bad.” and be done with it.

  • Maleekwa

    I just listened to a segment on NPR about the Klu Klux Klan. It’s interesting how the language used by the Klan is so similar to that used by anti-gay organizations.

  • C Peterson

    Such images and ideas coming from teachers whom children love and admire will powerfully shape the feelings and beliefs of young boys and girls, particularly when such images and ideas are reinforced countless times in other cultural contexts. Such images and ideas will undermine what is being taught at home.

    We can certainly hope so!

    One of the key roles of public education (and therefore one of the great weaknesses of homeschooling) is to provide exposure to a range of ideas. Personally, I don’t consider that “undermining”, but “providing a good education”. Of course, providing a good education is the last thing IFI wants!

  • NoCrossNoCrescent

    Here is one thing I know. As much as they may try to wrap their message in a various secular-sounding language, the true motive of the overwhelming majority of homophobes is religion.

  • Librepensadorar

    When I first saw the image, I thought it was pro-LGBT because it seemed to say that ignorance and hatred motivate opposition to gay rights. But of course, I should have recognized that only the antis use “homosexual.”

  • Richard Wade

    Such images and ideas will undermine what is being taught at home.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!

    –Oscar Hammerstein II

    Every canard, every scary prediction of doom that was used by bigots trying to stop interracial marriage is being used to try to stop same-sex marriage. They didn’t work.

    Laurie, your legion of little haters is getting smaller every day, and in just a few years, they will resent you and the hate mongers of your generation for defiling their hearts and minds with your fear and malice. And their children will be incredulous to hear their stories about what they were taught and what they finally rejected.

    The tide of history has finally turned and will sweep you away. Good riddance.

  • Michael

    They have a point. Gay marriage has been legal here in Canada for over 10 years and I don’t know anyone now who opposes it in my circle of friends. Maybe they’re just afraid it say it but even some evangelicals and Catholics I know personally disagree with it but don’t wish to take that right to marry away from gays now.

    The IFI is afraid they” lose their “God given” right to hate and vilify. They won’t lose their right, just the social acceptance that previously existed for that right.

  • Miss_Beara

    These same people would be saying “what if Mr. Smith has a picture of his wife on his desk… she is black and I don’t want my children exposed to such nonsense! They will think it is ok for them to love someone a different skin color and we cannot have that at all!”

    “Children will be taught that either mothers or fathers are expendable.”
    She should be against divorce then, not gay marriage.

  • eonL5

    We could, but Creationism isn’t a “phenomenon” — it’s a fantasy.

  • Pawel Samson

    Never had a teacher talk about their spouse in high school, but I had a lesbian prof in college who showed us pictures of her new baby, including some with her partner who was the biological mother. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
    This, btw, was at Loyala… where lgbt student groups aren’t even allowed on campus (or weren’t allowed a few years ago when I was there). I was pleasantly surprised that there weren’t any complaints from the students, a lot of who were some of the most socially conservative young people I’ve ever met.

  • Keith Roragen

    It’s a wonderful argument. If gay marriage is made legal it might result in actions that would cause school children to be less intolerant of homosexuals. Wait…was that supposed to be an argument AGAINST gay marriage?

  • Stev84

    It depends. Some did. Some didn’t. I remember one teacher brought her baby to school once. We also had two teachers who were married to each other.

    And my father runs an electronics repair business and often helped him with carrying around stuff. I’ve been to the homes of two of my teachers through that.

  • Pawel Samson

    I am so not looking forward to the inevitable ballot measure fight next year if gay marriage passes here soon. It’ll be Chicago against the rest of Illinois, just like with seemingly every other issue.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Who was it who said that, by denying equal marriage rights to LGBT and given the divorce rates in the US, they are in essence denying marriage to the one group that actually wants to embrace it.

  • John_in_Vegas

    A while back, I commented on the IFI Facebook page in response to a Higgins anti-gay rant. I simply stated my opposing view and presented some facts to dispute her statements. Rather than defend her position, IFI removed my post and barred me from making future comments on their page. That reaction speaks volumes to their lack of a defensible argument and censorship is all they have left.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I remember when my straight female teacher in HS spoke about her husband and how she was a feminist. Mostly, she hated all men. So, I’m not so sure this would be any worse.

  • WallofSleep
  • Wild Rumpus

    “We’re not anti-black people, we’re just pro white people. The Jew agenda is trampling our freedom of speech by not letting us burn crosses on city property.”
    Like that?

  • WallofSleep

    It’s the same thing these types do when they disable comments and ratings for their youtube vids. It’s not officially censorship when they do these things, but it takes no leap of logic to realize that they would use the force of gov’t to officially censor opposition if they had their way.

  • Jayn

    Yeah, it only works if you already think gay marriage is bad. “Oh no, if we’re more tolerant of gay people our kids will learn to be more tolerant of gay people!”

  • Richard Wade

    Richard who?

  • alconnolly

    Poor girl she argues persuasively that legalizing same sex marriage will make bigotry harder to justify, and that a new generation won’t believe that gays=bad, if they know people they love and admire are gay. Whats a bigot to do?

  • Mark W.

    Now I know why most Conservative Christians can’t form coherent sentences. They’re avoiding English so they won’t catch “Teh Ghey”.

  • rustywheeler

    And if “what is being taught at home” is so weak and vulnerable to outside influence that it can’t withstand such an onslaught of worldliness, then it doesn’t even really stand on its own merits, no?

  • Witchgawd

    “family” in a group’s name = Evangelical Christian hate group. Pure and simple. They are about everything but family.

  • Neal Lindberg

    Pffft…so what. Gay and lesbian teachers have probably already spoken about their partners in the classrooms, married or not. Have any of the kids come home to the schoolchildren and say, “Mom/Dad…love you, but…you’re expendable!’?

    But some Christians really do think that this is how you show love to homosexuals. Tragic.

  • observer
  • Holytape

    I meant to write “Richard Simmons.” Otherwise known as “the Butcher of New Orleans.”

  • Jane Williams

    Do these people not check out the fact that the other states with marriage equality do not show what they claim will happen?
    I guess if you believe the earth is 6,000 yrs old, then facts are out the window.

  • smrnda

    It seems that what these people are asking for is that schools (public schools) never, ever do anything that might offend the most easily offended among parents. The problem is schools are there to teach facts and to provide kids with an exposure to lots of different perspectives on life, not to make sure that parents get to turn their kids into ideological clones of themselves. That’s not education people.

  • chicago dyke

    when i was in elementary school in the all-white sticks (mom my sister and me were the only black folks in the country for many years), i had a teacher named Ms. Ngugugo or something like that. it was a totally African name. you know how on the first day of class teachers write their name on the board so you know how to spell it and write is correctly on your workbook or whatever? she did that, and explained to us that her husband was a nigerian. the funny part was that she had met him on a mission trip to africa with her conservative church.

    for some reason he didn’t come back to the states with her. but being a conservative christian, she didn’t believe in divorce and kept his name. she was as white as a ghost and was very happy to meet a black person again. she later tried to sell my mom a rug she’d brought back from africa. because, you know, black americans all decorate their homes with african things. or something.

  • Jasper

    It’s a slippery slope. The next thing you know, Muslim faculty will have pictures of their Muslim families, and people with interracial marriages will have photos of their not-racially-same spouses! We can’t have our children learning that there are different people out there who live lives differently from them! It’ll be complete societal collapse

  • chicago dyke

    just the social acceptance and flow of easy cash that helps them avoid real work that previously existed for that right.

    fixed your typo.

  • travshad

    doesn’t allow for voter initiated ballot initiatives to overturn legislated
    statues. They do allow for voter initiated constitutional amendments but only
    for amendments regarding the structure and operations of the General Assembly.
    I don’t believe there can be a constitutional amendment to ban marriage
    equality without the support of 60% of both houses of the General Assembly. If marriage equality passes, you will be safe from any ballot measures.

  • Richard Wade

    HAHAHAHA! I actually met Richard Simmons. Long ago, one of his first exercise gyms was downstairs from where I worked. He was hilarious and always upbeat.

  • C Peterson

    And there, in a nutshell, is IFI’s nightmare.

  • Sue Blue

    Yeah, because all those horrible, horrible things have totally happened here in Washington State, where gay marriage recently became legal. The sky turned black and fell in on us right after all the grade-school children came out as gay and those theater teachers started having sex with animals and babies right in the streets and then the zombie apocalypse happened and now the whole state is a demon-infested wasteland awaiting God’s fiery judgment….oh, wait – that didn’t happen yet. Hasn’t even been a single earthquake or hurricane, let alone total social breakdown. Apparently God’s accounting department is a little slow working out those wages of sin.

  • named

    I have to agree with the “Homosexuality Opposition is motivated by ignorance and hatred!” sentiment. Those who oppose LGBT lifestyles are pretty ignorant and hateful…

    Although that may not be the message they were trying to get across.

  • pagansister

    Richard Wade—One of my favorite songs from South Pacific! AND so very true. It is now playing in my head.

  • pagansister

    OMG! The WHOLE state of Illinois (where I was born) will fall off the face of the earth, never to be seen again if THOSE people are allowed to marry!

  • pagansister

    There goes the neighborhood! Those gay people will want to buy a house and it might be next door to our school or, god forbid—US!

  • Miss_Beara

    Nobody tried to marry their dog or a chair? But they said that would happen!

    I am shocked that didn’t happen yet. Shocked I tell you!

  • Baby_Raptor

    I intend to. Brains will asplode, and it will be awesome.

  • Aspieguy

    She left out the coming Wrath of the Lamb worldwide earthquake and invasion of demon locusts.

  • Miss_Beara

    I live in Chicago. It is amusing to see the Cardinal squirm and cry like a little baby because he will have to accept the fact that same sex folks can be in loving relationships AND raise families.

    I suppose we will join Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington and Canada to oblivion.

  • Eric Goberman

    I think her piece needs to be edited. Just change “homosexual” to “interracial” and we’re ready for the 19th century

  • Bob

    Reading this made me think of something. Some of the worst natural disasters to hit the US always seem to target the most religious and conservative states. I see three options: 1) God has bad aim, 2) God is trying to tell the religious states something, 3) God has nothing to do with it and natural disasters are a random act of nature.

  • Bob

    No, they are for their idea of a family. You know, Christian, conservative, and heterosexual.

  • Carpinions

    I notice that that IFI article is no longer at the end of that link. Wonder why…trying to limit trackbacks from “unfriendly” sources in the hopes that their comments won’t be filled with pro-LGBT posters, perhaps?

  • kaydenpat

    I’m so glad that state by state, same sex marriage is moving forward. Religion has no place in politics/government. I’ve yet to hear a secular argument against same sex marriage — only arguments from a Biblical/religious point of view. Since we don’t live in a theocracy, Laurie Higgins and her ilk have no basis for trying to force their religious beliefs on society as a whole. Perhaps she should move to a country where there is no separation between church and state, i.e., Saudi Arabia.