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*** UPDATED x2 - Harris hasn’t heard of compromise - No delay in vote today *** Catholic Conference offers 11th hour compromise on civil unions

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010

* The Catholic Conference of Illinois is apparently so concerned that the civil unions bill could pass the House today that it has issued a statement offering to compromise

The statement reiterated that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

“Accordingly, we stand ready to work with the legislature and other agencies of state government to prevent unjust discrimination and to provide benefits to people judged by the civic authority as deserving — as long as such provision does not include the attempted redefinition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman for the sake of family,” the statement said.

*** UPDATE 1 - 9:26 am *** “That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” said Rep. Greg Harris, the sponsor of the civil unions bill, about a proposed compromise. Harris said he is “always interested in talking to everyone,” but said the Catholic Conference has not approached him yet about any possible compromise and that he hadn’t heard anything about it until he saw it on CapitolFax.com this morning. Harris promised to get back to us if he is contacted today.

*** UPDATE 2 - 10:48 am *** From Illinois Review

House Republicans Mathias, Mulligan and Myers and Democrat Dugan are out today. The civil union proponents need the votes of Mulligan and Dugan — we may see the vote on SB 1716 delayed. May force the delay all the hot social issues today.

Proponents weren’t expecting votes from Mathias and Myers. Mulligan is on her way down. Rep. Dugan, however, is not. Rep. Harris said he would continue to push forward with a vote today. He said he’d like to have a bigger cushion, but it is what it is.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* But things are proceeding apace and proponents appear to be getting closer

Supporters of civil unions for same-sex couples say they’re close to having the 60 votes needed to pass the measure in the Illinois House.

It would still need state senate approval and Governor Pat Quinn’s signature, who says the measure could help the state’s economy.

* Proponents even have a Catholic nun on their side

Activists plan to take several dozen clergy members of various faiths to the Illinois Capitol Tuesday, when lawmakers could vote on the civil unions plan.

“We know your mothers and your teachers taught you to respect the choices people make and the primacy of their choices,” Catholic nun Donna Quinn, of Palos Heights, said in a statement.

* Opponents are obviously worried about the House’s 18 lame ducks

David E. Smith, executive director the Illinois Family Institute, said he has heard anecdotally about some lawmakers from conservative areas who aren’t returning to office after January and appear poised to support Harris’ bill.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George also weighed in on the lame ducks

[Cardinal George] criticized the fact that such an important measure was being considered by a lame-duck General Assembly. “More should be done to engage the people in public debate” on it, he said.

* The opposition is seriously cranking up the heat, and pointing to a pension note request that’s sparking some controversy. From Illinois Review

While gay rights activists insist the number of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons are now at the levels of 10 percent of the American population, when asked how much legalizing same sex civil unions could cost Illinois taxpayers, the state’s budget office minimalized the projected number of LGBTs to be only one percent of the state’s population.

Using the fraction of a fraction as the projected number of LGBT state employees whose same sex partners may eventually benefit from the state workers’ pension plans, the budget office gave this report in answer to a pension note query filed by State Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill):

SB 245 from the 96th General Assembly allowed members of TRS and the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund to designate a domestic partner as a surviving spouse for purposes of survivor and death benefits (SB 245 has not advanced out of committee). Based on that legislation, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s actuary estimated that if 1% of active TRS members designate a domestic partner as a beneficiary for survivor benefits, the impact to the system would be as follows; (1) Increase in total actuarial liability = $15,750,000; (2) Increase in total annual costs = $1,838,000; (3) Increase in total annual costs as a payment of payroll = $0.02%.

The pension note focused on survivor benefits, but health care costs were not included in the estimation. The budget office said they can’t estimate the cost to Central Management Services:

* The rhetoric is also increasing

“It’s not legitimate for the government to recognize the relationship of homosexual partners or polygamous partners or incestuous partners,” [David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute] said.

Except, if civil unions is this difficult to pass, I seriously doubt that incest and polygamy would ever be legalized.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


51 Comments
  1. - EazyTurner - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:17 am:

    The last gasp of a dying cause: radicalizing your position and looking to defeat it based on a technicality


  2. - tomincargie - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:24 am:

    I wonder if Cardinal George would have the same view of an effort to pass school vouchers in a lame duck session.


  3. - amalia - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:24 am:

    Stay strong Greg and Deb!


  4. - Scooby - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:26 am:

    Wingnut Bingo:

    Incest - check!

    Hitler - ?


  5. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:29 am:

    The opposition does not serve their cause by going off the deep end with suggestions of legalized polygamy & incest. In doing so, they expose the weakness of their position.

    It reminds me of a video I watched with the kids last night:
    ===Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
    Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! ===


  6. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:30 am:

    The expansion of health care would be a zero dollar increase because the State already provides same sex partner coverage for health insurance.

    Providing health and insurance benefits, rights to have a say in family and medical issues etc will benefit us far more then it will cost.


  7. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:31 am:

    Of course, maybe it will result in loving, committed couples being able to formalize and record their relationship with the government.


  8. - bored now - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:35 am:

    is cardinal george married??? you might understand my confusion on why a proponent of celibacy would have any standing on the subject of marriage.

    it would be much better for legislators to listen to people who are married. i know that my marriage is so strong that i’d encourage everyone to get married. and it’s certainly not threatened by the desire for same sex couples to get married.

    of course, *this* legislation isn’t even talking about marriage. it’s legalizing civil unions among same-sex couples, for which (afaik) the catholic church has no sacraments reserved. so why should anyone care what cardinal george thinks?


  9. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:45 am:

    Wow, this is quite revealing. According to the Illinois Review, if we use a 10% number instead of a 1% number, that means we can save $150 million by not passing civil unions.

    By using the same logic, we can save $1.5 billion by going one step further and rolling back the marriage law.

    I agree with the Illinois Review, during these tough times, we simply can’t afford marriage.


  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:45 am:

    “Pat Quinn says the measure could help the state’s economy.” So this is Quinn’s big program to improve the economy. Pass it and let the prosperity begin!


  11. - Publius - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:53 am:

    Rich, do you know what time they are going to call it today? This is a win for the state since it will allow people to get the same rights in the states. The state should not be in the business to discriminate (unless we’re discriminating against Blago). Remember Rep. Mell on the House Floor stated that she had to go to Iowa to get married


  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:54 am:

    ===Rich, do you know what time they are going to call it today?===

    Shortly after noon, I think. Not sure.


  13. - open - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 9:58 am:

    Can we look at other states in our country, as well as other countries (several of them firmly rooted in the Catholic faith) such as Spain and Argentina, and Mexico City that allow same-sex marriage to see how they have not only not collapsed but are surviving quite well?


  14. - Scooby - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:05 am:

    Will they call it today? Two Reps who are apparently key votes are excused again today.


  15. - Publius - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:07 am:

    I’ve heard that they are and that they have some Republicans on their side to. They only need 60


  16. - A.B. - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:09 am:

    I hope they just get this bill passed and move forward. It would be nice to see a solid 65 or 70 votes for the bill so it passes and isn’t a real issue in 2 years.


  17. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:12 am:

    ===Two Reps who are apparently key votes are excused again today. ===

    Subscribe.


  18. - frustrated GOP - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:20 am:

    “incestuous”? Really? wow, wonder what his position is on inter-racial marriages? wow, talk about cavemen in the dark ages.


  19. - Scooby - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:23 am:

    I do subscribe. The two Reps who you said were key in your newsletter are out again today. I feel like I’m repeating myself.


  20. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:26 am:

    –[Cardinal George] criticized the fact that such an important measure was being considered by a lame-duck General Assembly.–

    They were voted in by citizens in free elections. Who elected Cardinal George? What does head-counting in the GA have to do with saving souls?


  21. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:26 am:

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough this morning. I had to cut two lines for space, which I just remembered doing. They’re on the way.


  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:26 am:

    @open 9:58 am,

    I don’t think Spain, Argentina and Mexico are doing as well as you might suppose altho not necessarily for having legalized same-sex marriage. These kinds of statements bother me because the variables involved in a country doing well or not doing well rarely can be due to a single cause, unless the country disappeared under the cloud of some massive earthquake or other type calamity.

    I am fine with the gov’t making civil unions a part of the legal landscape so that legal age couples, opposite sex or otherwise, can be united with full benefits attached. The gov’t should get out of the marriage business and should not even think of compelling a church or religion to perform marriage ceremonies for persons the particular religion/church does not wish to perform.

    I think language can easily be included to limit civil unions to 2 adult humans not from the same parents to cover concerns regarding polygamy, intra-family and the barnyard.


  23. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:28 am:

    ===I think language can easily be included to limit civil unions to 2 adult humans not from the same parents to cover concerns regarding polygamy, intra-family and the barnyard. ===

    The language is already in there.


  24. - Publius - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:29 am:

    What is the bill number again?


  25. - LouisXIV - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:29 am:

    I’d just like to point out that almost immediately after Massachusetts legalized gay marriage (marriage not civil unions) the Red Sox won the World Series and the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Passage of this bill might be the first step toward the Cubs finally ending their World Series drought (though passing full marriage equality might be a better guarantee of a Cubs victory).


  26. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:31 am:

    @open 9:58 am,

    I don’t think Spain, Argentina and Mexico are doing as well as you might suppose altho not necessarily for having legalized same-sex marriage. These kinds of statements bother me because the variables involved in a country doing well or not doing well rarely can be due to a single cause, unless the country disappeared under the cloud of some massive earthquake or other type calamity.

    I am fine with the gov’t making civil unions a part of the legal landscape so that legal age couples, opposite sex or otherwise, can be united with full benefits attached. The gov’t should get out of the marriage business and should not even think of compelling a church or religion to perform marriage ceremonies for persons the particular religion/church does not wish to perform.

    I think language can easily be included to limit civil unions to 2 adult humans not from the same parents to cover concerns regarding polygamy, intra-family and the barnyard.

    How my name wasn’t added to the previous post is a mystery to me.


  27. - A.B. - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    Rumor has it that that there is a third yes vote who is out sick as well, now.


  28. - Ahoy - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    If it’s not legitimate for the state to recognize homosexual partners, why is it recognizing any partners? That seems to be to be discrimination.

    Maybe the compromise should be to not recognize any partnerships.


  29. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    These right wing social conservatives are a bunch of hypocrites. They’ll support a gay Republican they know is gay in a general election, for pure political reasons. Just to beat a Democrat.

    For crying out loud, if a gay person can be a U.S. Senator and make all the major public policy like even helping send people to war, let them have civil unions.

    The right wing of the GOP has no credibility left. Stop being buffoons.


  30. - Publius - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:49 am:

    I had to walk away for a few minutes what happened to the House? Are they caucusing right now?


  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    Publius, they’re back now.


  32. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:55 am:

    Some incestuous marriages are already legal in Illinois. First cousins who are over 50 years old can marry.


  33. - ZC - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:46 am:

    We don’t have to debate these hypotheticals anymore.

    Gay marriage is now legal in several states. If anyone has a shred of evidence, that polygamy or incest or bestiality or any of the rest of them, are making a legal comeback in those states, I am all ears.

    But I doubt there’s any such evidence.


  34. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:16 pm:

    ZC your missing the critical points. The Catholics inveted marriage (apparently hundreds of years before hrist was born) and therefore should control how we apply it.

    Of course we can expect the Catholic legslation to ban divorce to follow; after all its not legal in the church so it needs to be outlawed as well.

    After all the church as a tax payer has a right…to um….wait… the church as a non tax payer…..


  35. - John Galt - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:18 pm:

    I don’t see a problem w/ having civil unions per se, but I would like to see language specifically safe-guarding faith-based institutions from having to perform, acknowledge, or service such unions. Assuming they don’t receive government money for those particular programs (e.g. adoption agencies, hospitals, etc).

    Not that I personally agree necessarily, but unlike inter-racial marriage, faith-based objections to gay folks has been long and widely established in almost every mainstream faith. At some point we bump into people’s freedom of religion if we’re not careful.

    Where’s the language of the bill? Does it have such as safe-guard provision?


  36. - Publius - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    I’m hearing that this may not have the votes now


  37. - John Galt - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:58 pm:

    Nevermind. Read the text. There is a provision, but it seems only narrowly tailored to actually performing the ceremony itself and not the ancillary things that many churches, synagogues, etc. do such as community projects, adoption agencies, hospitals, etc.

    Whatev…


  38. - Siwash - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 2:44 pm:

    Totally opposed to all the homosexual political nonsense. It’s a vast and problem-generating social change. Much better to dismiss this evil.


  39. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 2:54 pm:

    @Siwash -

    Change — or Progress as we like to call it — is inherently problem-generating.

    But “Nostalgia” has its own problems — which is why we haven’t gone back to burning witches.

    And maintaining the status quo has inherent problems too: look at our 19th century education system.


  40. - Anon - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 3:13 pm:

    If the House does pass SB 1716, does the Senate vote from 2009 still count? Or does the Senate have to vote on it in this veto session?

    Senate Vote: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/96/senate/09600SB1716_04232009_003000T.pdf

    Bill history: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1716&GAID=10&DocTypeID=SB&LegId=44423&SessionID=76&GA=96


  41. - ZC - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 3:26 pm:

    So what is going on? Can somebody update the action? Are they going to a vote later today, or are they trying to work out some last-minute compromise now?


  42. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 4:10 pm:

    ZC, they were still waiting for Rep. Mulligan, then they went to committee. Should be relatively soon.


  43. - makin sausage - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 4:11 pm:

    They’re at recess and in committees


  44. - Damen - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 4:11 pm:

    Do they have the votes?


  45. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 4:52 pm:

    Any developments?


  46. - Catholic boy - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 6:25 pm:

    I think any Catholic lawmaker who supports this should not be allowed to take communion in my church no compromise to say otherwise is to say that we in the world have been wrong for centuries.


  47. - amalia - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 6:30 pm:

    Dear Catholic boy: no one is telling your church what to do with marriage. don’t tell me what to do with anything!


  48. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 6:39 pm:

    –I think any Catholic lawmaker who supports this should not be allowed to take communion in my church no compromise to say otherwise is to say that we in the world have been wrong for centuries.–

    Somewhat incoherent, but I think I get your point. How about Galileo and the geocentric view of the universe? Still holding on to that one? Of course, the church was going to do more to Galileo than bar him from communion.

    Was the church wrong all those centuries when they allowed priests to marry?


  49. - bored now - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 8:23 am:

    Catholic boy: while i think that your view on this might be shared with many of your fellow tridentine worshipers, i would point out that the catholic church has its own long, but hidden, history of gay priests whom it has protected and even promoted. in that sense, yes, the church has been “wrong for centuries.” one could imagine, given your demand, that a catholic lawmaker could be denied communion by a priest who had acted on his homosexual proclivities while serving in the priesthood (and protected by the church).

    the position of denying catholics communion for such things would have much greater moral clarity if the church didn’t continue to allow fallen priests to give communion after they sinned against the church’s centuries-old positions…


  50. - kaqtie Murphy - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 2:08 pm:

    The catholic church is becoming an anachronism in the world.

    Every west European country except Italy and Greece grant gay couples legal recognition, and some also religious recognition. Austria, HUngary, Chech Repub, Israel and Repub of south Africa, NZ and parts of Australia, and apparently in Nepal as well

    And Canada and Brazil, Agentina, Columbia, Equador, Uruguay, and much of Brazil.

    About half of the above marriage, the other half marriage by a different name. Finland and France are on the move to changing to Marriage. England is around the corner.

    What we are seeing is the last gasp of a church which has totally lost its moral values. And is in effect putting itself in the guilotine and pulling on the rope.

    Thats their privelede. They are welcome to commit a Jim JOnes kool aid affair as long as they don’t take any of us with them.


  51. - Semantha W. O'connell - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 2:11 pm:

    Our entire extended family, with few exceptions has left this church. For the Episcopal church - so similar in theology, but which almost all will fully accept gay people and most will do a marriage or committment ceremony.

    If you are Catholic, you should do the same. God is Watching. You want to be careful of the company you keep and the values you support


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