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Illinois Republicans should support same-sex marriage

Updated: March 20, 2013 6:17AM

Equality of opportunity is a major component toward the path of economic prosperity and social parity. However, state Sen. Jim Oberweis believes that a portion of Illinois’ population should be prevented from receiving the same opportunities as other members of our community.

As a Catholic, Oberweis opposes same-sex marriage, but this flag of Catholicism is that of convenience, for he has been divorced, which the Catholic Church also opposes.

Pat Brady, a Catholic and the head of the Illinois Republican Party, has come out in favor of the proposed Illinois legislation to legalize same sex marriage. “I was shocked,” said Sen. Oberweis, who has questioned Brady’s stance on the issue.

Recently, 50 Illinois business leaders agreed with Brady, stating in a news release that marriage equality would strengthen the workforce of Illinois employers.

“To be competitive, a state must create an equitable, fair and respectful environment for all of its citizens,” the release states.

These business leaders understand that the citizens of Illinois are diverse and that diversity creates a rainbow of social and economic opportunity. The weddings alone have the potential of bringing $72 million annually to Illinois.

While I have no expectation that Oberweis would rethink his vote, I hope that other members of the Party of Lincoln will have the political courage to support same-sex marriage.

Corinne M. Pierog

St. Charles

Illinois Tollway still exists because it’s still needed

Recently, a few Sun-Times’ readers wrote letters to the editor asking, “Why haven’t the Illinois Tollway’s roads become freeways?”

Legislative leaders at the time the agency was created in 1953 did promise that the toll roads would become freeways once the bonds used to build the original 187 miles of the Illinois Tollway were paid off.

That promise was well-intentioned, but short-sighted, as it did not consider the need to maintain the system or answer future demands for new roads. Maintenance of the tollway system must be paid for one way or another. If there were no tollway, the state would need to raise the gas tax by about 9 cents a gallon statewide to pay for maintenance and operation of the existing tollway roads.

If there were no tollway, new roads including the Veteran’s Memorial Tollway (I-355) and soon the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access would not get built, since the state’s roadway funds are needed to support other interstates and roadways throughout the state.

In addition, toll roads and bridges are commonplace in more than 30 states, as many find that they are the best way to build and support critical infrastructure.

The Illinois Tollway receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. It is a user-fee system that many consider to be a better option than increased gas taxes for everyone. Only those who use our system pay to drive on it.

Kristi Lafleur

Executive director

Illinois Tollway

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