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Editorial: All we need is love — and marriage

FOR USE AS DESIRED YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - Terry Gilbert left kisses his husbPaul Beppler after wedding Seattle

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - Terry Gilbert, left, kisses his husband Paul Beppler after wedding at Seattle City Hall, becoming among the first gay couples to legally wed in the state, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Seattle. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage Dec. 5 and weddings for gay and lesbian couples began in Washington on Sunday, following the three-day waiting period after marriage licenses were issued earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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Updated: January 27, 2013 6:20AM

And now for a little love.

With all the talk of the fiscal cliff, assault weapons and death in Newtown, Conn., it can be easy to forget that most of us go about our lives peacefully, hand-in-hand with the people we’ve chosen to call family.

For most of us, those families can be recognized by law through the institution of marriage.

But if you’re a gay or lesbian, your unions are second class under Illinois law. Even if you already have kids, a dog, a minivan, the whole nine yards.

It’s time to fix that.

And a growing number of folks in Illinois agree.

On Sunday, about 260 Illinois clergy and religious leaders joined the fight to legalize gay marriage in Illinois. They came out in a support of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which its sponsors hope to call for a vote in the state Legislature during the first week in January.

These leaders, who are in the community building business, say legalized gay marriage is just what our communities and families need.

“The very basis of marriage is to protect the family, strengthen our communities and advocate compassion. No couple should be excluded from that,” the clergy wrote in an open letter.

“We want to promote the common good — that which is best for individuals, couples, families, children and society.”

These 260 leaders stepped up as individuals, not as representatives of their congregations.

And that’s just fine. The gay marriage bill goes out of its way to make clear that no religious institution would be required to consecrate a gay union. Marriage is a civil matter, and the bill’s drafters made sure to keep it that way.

At at time when the nation is feeling raw and unmoored, embracing love seems just the right thing to do.

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