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Calm down, please

Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010

* I covered the years-long debate here over whether to include sexual orientation in the state’s human rights code. There were plenty of predictions of doom and gloom back then if the bill passed. It did pass, and I cannot remember a single instance where this law has created undue controversy or hardship. People generally expect the worst when big changes happen, but that rarely ever turns out to be the case.

So, let’s all try to keep a cool head as the civil unions bill moves through the Senate today. I banned one of the bill’s opponents yesterday for some very weird, over the top comments. Some of the proponents got a bit too hot-headed as well, but I was too busy covering the event to monitor comments as closely as I should have. Let’s try not to let that happen again today, please. We can have a vigorous debate without resorting to needless insults, or breathless remarks or drive-by bumper-sticker slogans. Thanks.

* This should be a non-issue for two reasons

Robert F. Gilligan, the Catholic Conference’s executive director, said he is disappointed that civil unions passed, but now is focused on lobbying senators to vote it down Wednesday. Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, is an avid supporter of the bill, and supporters have considered the House a tougher obstacle

Gilligan said he was particularly dismayed that the bill passed during a lame-duck session. The measure got a boost from as many as a dozen lawmakers who will not return because they are retiring or were defeated in the Nov. 2 election.

First, every lame duck member who voted for civil unions was either elected two years ago or (in one case) constitutionally appointed to the seat. Those legislators all serve until January under our Constitution. This is a legitimate vote.

Second, the Catholic Conference of Illinois is actively supporting SB 3539 during the veto session. That bill would abolish the death penalty. If it’s OK for lame ducks to abolish the death penalty, why isn’t it acceptable for those same legislators to establish civil unions?

I don’t get it.

* I kinda get this, but not quite

During the House floor debate on civil unions, Harris told his colleagues that Illinois senior citizens as a whole would possibly benefit more than same sex couples from legalizing civil unions because under civil unions they could have the best of both worlds — maintain their federal Social Security benefits and still gain the right to jointly occupy nursing homes as well as determine their partner’s medical care.

Indeed, Rep. Harris’ comments may be a worse slam to the sanctity of marriage than allowing the state recognition of same sex couples. With the passage of civil unions for same sex and opposite sex couples, Harris’ comments suggested those widowed senior citizens that choose to traditionally marry a subsequent life partner of the opposite sex with the blessing of their church will foolishly give up federal and state financial resources.

Churches don’t issue marriage licenses, government does. So, why couldn’t two seniors decide to join in civil union and then ask their church to sanctify it with a wedding ceremony? The church wouldn’t have to do it, of course, but they could.

* It might be better if Gov. Pat Quinn would leave his religion out of this debate

Cardinal Francis George and other Catholic leaders have fought civil unions, but Quinn, who is Catholic, said he has no reservations about supporting the measure.

“My religious faith animates me to support this bill. I think that people of good faith, maybe, can disagree and have different points of view,” Quinn said.

I completely concur that people of faith can disagree on this, but I’m not a Roman Catholic. If I was a Catholic, like Quinn, I’m not sure I could say that.

* Now, on to some videos. First up, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris

* Rep. Ron Stephens started out well enough, then veered off the track

* Gov. Pat Quinn talks to reporters

* Our commenters did a good job last night live-blogging the civil unions debate. But Illinois Review did a remarkably even-handed and thorough job, so if you missed the debate, then you should click here and read through their notes. The bill text is here. The roll call is here.

* Roundup…

* Illinois House passes civil unions for gay and lesbian couples

* Civil unions pass Illinois House; Senate president supports measure

* Civil unions gain House passage

* Sun-Times: Civil unions vote is on right side of history

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - IrishPirate - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:11 am:


    as a Catholic with a bad moon rising trust me it is possible for someone who claims to be Catholic to support this bill. Some of us are animated by social justice and not just by the sexually repressed old men currently doing their best to make the Church irrelevant.

    If the Pope hears about this bill becoming law in Rome his red Gucci loafers may just fly off.

    As for Governor Quinn mentioning his religious faith I would have preferred he didn’t. Jefferson said something to the affect of “never questioning another’s religious beliefs and not tolerating questions on my own”.

    In this age of Palin we should all take that to heart.

  2. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:12 am:

    maintain their federal Social Security benefits

    Huh? Remarriage after age 60 does not affect Social Security benefits. See

  3. - Steve Downstate - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:17 am:

    I called Ron Stephens’ office a few minutes ago to express my dismay over his putting the fall of Rome on the backs of gays and lesbians. The staffer who took my call told me (in response to my asking her) that they had not heard from anyone else who was bothered by that statement. Somehow, I find that hard to believe.

  4. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:29 am:

    Just another example of why this state should be divided in two. Chicago supports the bill, downstate does not. Cook and the Collar Counties once again make a decision that the rest of the state overwhelmingly rejects.

  5. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:31 am:

    I guess Republicans need not worry about remap. There will always be enough Republicans to undermine the Republican platform position no matter what.

    But for Republican votes, civil unions would have failed yesterday. Same way school voucher bill was killed earlier this year.

    Why even have a Republican Party in Illinois?

  6. - TD - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:31 am:

    IrishPirate has shown that supporters of the bill can make ridiculous and disrespectful comments as well.

  7. - chiesq - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:31 am:

    I had no idea that open homosexuality caused the fall of Rome and Greece. Thanks for the history lesson, Ron.

  8. - chiatty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:31 am:

    This is a legal issue, not an issue of faith. If people want to debate the religious implications of homosexuality, by all means feel free to do so with your minister, priest or whomever. Using issues like this for political purposes is unseemly, unprofessional and inappropriate.

  9. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:32 am:

    ===Chicago supports the bill, downstate does not.===

    10 Downstaters voted for the bill.

  10. - UISer - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:33 am:

    Rich, as a Catholic I disagree with your assessment. Quinn did an excellent job of describing why he felt this was the right way to vote. I whole-heartidly agree with him.

  11. - transplant - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:37 am:

    As a Roman Catholic I also support the bill. Like my government and my Party, I often disagree with my church.
    As far as Ron Stephens attributing the fall of Rome to the acceptance of homosexuality? Probably had more to do with the wanton slaughter of its people for entertainment than homosexuality … I’m just sayin …

  12. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:38 am:

    I am proud of what our state did yesterday. I view this as do most people of our younger age brackets (both Democrats and Republicans) an equal rights issue, nothing else. I am very proud of this vote, and I can not wait to see what happens today in the Senate. As far as Sen. Stephens is concerned, shame on you for the Rome comments. That was wrong and Civil Unions will not bring the downfall of society. Shame on you.

  13. - Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:38 am:

    Why is it that homosexual acts are associated with the DECLINE of Greece and Rome? You could just as easily say that Greek and Roman attitudes toward homosexuality were part of the reason for the RISE of those civilizations. Or for that matter (and I say this as a Christian), that the introduction of Christianity led to the fall of the Roman Empire. It’s a total red herring.

    In any event, the more important point is that the types of monogamous relationships we’re talking about in Illinois are not at all like the more notorious Greek and Roman practices that I’m sure Stephens had in mind. We’re not legalizing Caligula here.

  14. - soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:39 am:

    Rich —

    FYI, most pastors I know will not perform a religious wedding ceremony unless there is a valid marriage license ready to be signed.

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:39 am:

    In the tradition of judge not lest you be judged, the Catholic Church needs to understand not everybody should be required to follow its beliefs. If it’s as bad a sin as they think, God will take care of it later.

    In the mean time, let them be with their loved ones when there sick. It’s the least society can do for those condemned to spend eternity in the fiery pits because they needed better health coverage.

  16. - cassandra - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:43 am:

    I’m fine with the civil unions but some of the discussions yesterday about access to “spousal” benefits do raise some questions about why any employer, public or private, should be expected to pay for any health benefits for adult dependents. We no longer live in a world where mom expects to stay home and take care of the kids as a career. Young women are expected to prepare themselves to earn a living for all of their lives. The lack of access issue will be solved in 2014 when universal health care kicks in and all will be required to have access to health insurance, meaning that even the unemployed adult dependent should have access to Medicaid or other health insurance options. At that point, if employers offer spousal health insurance, at a minimum it should be taxed as income.

    Ditto state retiree health care. Why on earth would we continue to pay free health insurance premiums to early retirees in 2014-plus very cheap health insurance for their adult “dependents.” Crazy.

  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:47 am:

    Rep. Stephens, that great student of Gibbon, talks about the fall of Rome like it was a bad thing.

    I’m curious he didn’t include Gibbon’s contention that the rise of Christianity was instrumental in the empire’s fall. Maybe he’ll speak about that in opposition to a school prayer bill.

    He should bemoan the fall of the Roman Republic. The Roman Empire was decadent from the very beginning, built on slavery, plunder and constant warfare. Still it lasted about 500 to 1,500 years, depending how you slice it. Those naughty boys Tiberius, Caligula and Nero were emperors at the beginning, not the end.

    I don’t think Gibbon would blame civil unions.

  18. - UISer - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:50 am:


    Is there video of Black’s speech?

  19. - amalia - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:56 am:

    Yesterday I fired off emails to pals in other states, very proud of the State of Illinois and the steps it is taking in basic fairness and decency. Chicago will soon have a new mayor, and we have a new senator who seems decent. could it be possible that Illinois is taking a turn for the good? maybe the snow, right on schedule for meteorological winter, is making me Christmas/Hanukkah happy, but I do sense a turn for the better in politics. And it feels good.

  20. - transplant - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 9:57 am:

    I think you should install a like button on here, Rich. Too many great statements on here to point out individually.
    I also think that having the Senate address the civil unions bill today is quite fitting. It is, after all, the anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus!

  21. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:00 am:

    I’m of the opinion the Catholic Conference of Illinois needs to stop all political action, even though I agree with them about the death penalty.

  22. - Jeeves - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:04 am:

    I don’t believe the Governor introduced the issue of religion in his comments yesterday, but was responding to a direct question about if his being Catholic caused a personal conflict in the light of the Church’s opposition to the bill. I have seen him do this before when someone else introduces the subject.

  23. - MrJM - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:05 am:

    For the spokesperson of one of the least democratic institutions in America to question the legitimacy of votes case by the citizens’ elected representatives is somewhat breathtaking.

    Mr. Gilligan, come back after the folks in the pews get to vote for Cardinal.

    – MrJM

  24. - Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:12 am:

    Like UISer, I’d like to know if there is video of Black’s speech or some of the others. Is there any way to access those?

  25. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:12 am:


    Although 10 “downstate” reps may have voted for the bill, only 1 republican did and that was Bill Black who is retiring. A number of the other yes votes from downstate are lame ducks who more than likely would have voted no if they had been re-elected.

  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:13 am:

    10 isn’t 10?

  27. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:16 am:

    Cassandra - only you could take an issue of civil unions and turn it into an opportunity to bash public employees pensions. That said, I agree with you that the time for “free” anything is past. Retirees should pay something for their insurance, just like everyone else.
    As for civil unions, why not? I regard marriage as a religious rite, but a contract is a legal document. What makes you married, in the governments eyes, is the signed and witnessed document/license. Why should it matter if the names on the contract are of the same sex? And yes, I am a Catholic.

  28. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:17 am:

    I tip my hat to you Rich. That is the most succinct rebuttal to any comment ever left on this blog.

  29. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:17 am:


  30. - Jeeves - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:18 am:

    For Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the Holy See’s most current official statements on homosexuality center on the Church’s prohibition of any sex outside of procreation, which is supposed to apply equally to everyone. They also have an out for the “sin” part too.

  31. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:31 am:

    Of course, it’s illegitimate. Does anyone think this would have passed before the election.
    The point, Rich, is that legislators passed while knowing they would not have to defend their action.
    They put together just enough votes between safe legislators and those who are leaving to pass the bill. The same applies to all these other big issues up for discussion. It’s what they used to do with their bogus post-election pay raises.
    Clearly, they have the authority to take these actions in what is supposed to be a veto session, but it’s still the same dishonesty people have come to expect from their legislators. Only blind supporters of these proposals and supporters of the might-makes-right approach can defend this disgraceful practice.
    By the way, the state is bankrupt and neither the state nor Gov. Quinn shows any interest in doing something about that. I should note, however, that Quinn bill the gay thing as an economic development tool. Great argument.

  32. - UISer - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:37 am:

    I don’t understand the “we have bigger fish to fry” argument. Yes, we have an economic mess to deal with, but does that mean the legislature should work on nothing else?

    I imagine to the people this bill would effect, they probably feel this is a very important issue.

  33. - Lefty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    Aw, so we deal with special interests first? As things progress or regress perhpas the special interest groups will look back and wish their house hadn’t burned down after they had remodeled the kitchen.

  34. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:49 am:

    Having strong libertarian (small L) tendencies, I don’t care one way or the other about this issue other than to say if it cost the taxpayers of this state one single penny, the vote should have waited until the economy improves and our state budget is in order.

    I ask you all this:

    Why is our GA spending one minute of their time doing anything except working on our state budget whose wheels are falling off? The same can be said of the US Congress.

    Am I the only person who thinks that the priorities of our elected officials are skewed and they did not get a message from their constituents?

  35. - ZC - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    Should legislators who announce they are retiring, be barred from voting all the rest of a regular session?

    As soon as you announce you’re retiring, you’ll never have to “face the voters” again. Whether you vote for something after November, or before it, the same logic applies. So I don’t see a critical distinction.

    As for all the reps who are running again, they will of course face the voters in 2012 and if the voters don’t like their votes on this bill, they can be held responsible for it.

    The flip side for all this, is if you took a difficult vote, late in session, your opponents can immediately flood the airwaves and mailboxes with, “SO AND SO VOTED TO LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE,” and you have no time to call them on their exaggerations and explain what truly happened.

    Now the reps have basically two years to explain what they did, and their constituents have two years to see that, in fact, the world didn’t end and there are no “gay death panels” in this bill.

    But democracy lives. Everyone who voted for this bill, still has to go home and face their voters eventually. And if there are truly enough votes, between those who opposed and the retirees’ replacement, you can always try and overturn the law. I just don’t see the big affront here.

  36. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:57 am:

    ===Of course, it’s illegitimate. Does anyone think this would have passed before the election.===

    What an idiotic statement. Truly, you’ve outdone yourself.

  37. - shore - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:57 am:

    I regularly denounce this blog and its owner, but I agree with you on the lame duck thing. kirk slammed the lame duck congress yesterday-something he didn’t do when republicans were in control. These people were elected to full terms by their constituents and if legislators have a problem they can do what they do in britain which is to make you unemployed and out on the street the morning following the previous election. I don’t think any legislator wants that situation so tough it out and do a better job fighting for your interest.

  38. - UISer - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 10:57 am:

    Lefty and Cincinnatus,

    I think we just disgree on princple. I don’t see the civil unions bill as just another “special interest” piece of legislation. It is an attempt to make citizens of this state equal in the eye of the law.

    To the budget. Everyone in the Capitol knows what needs to happen. We need to cut services and raise taxes. Any clue on why that hasn’t happened yet? I think elections may have something to do with it.

  39. - 10th Voter - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:06 am:

    Cincinnatus: Rep. Harris has been getting this message (re: the need for civil unions) from his constituents for years. IMHO, the skewed priorities were that many of the “lame ducks” felt they had to wait until they wouldn’t have election repercussions to vote their true beliefs.

  40. - Lefty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:06 am:

    UISer- well at least now we will all go broke on an “equal” basis I guess.

  41. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:07 am:


    I make no judgement on the need for the bill, I am totally agnostic on this issue. I do, however, majorly question the timing. Firstly, why is this interfering with any and all efforts to resolve the budget crisis. Peripherally, why no call this issue before the election - were the legislators afraid of their constituents? [Rhetorical, don’t answer.]

  42. - Lefty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:14 am:

    It appears the special interest saw an opportunity, because the timing offered a path of least resistance. The House is a ship without no one at the helm currently steering the ship as the captain tries to figure out the course to take. So the winds of opportunity blew them toward this bill. (Don’t you love metaphors?)

  43. - Jaded - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:16 am:

    The Senate is now on about its 40th minute of its “strict 15 minute caucus.” Man somebody needs to explain the concept of a clock to that chamber.

  44. - Jaded - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    “The House is a ship with no one at the helm”

    Are you serious. Have you heard of this Mike Madigan guy. A hurricane couldn’t blow that guy of course!

  45. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    –Just another example of why this state should be divided in two. Chicago supports the bill, downstate does not.–

    Okie, in light of the civil unions bill, I sympathize with your desire for the Downstate righteous to declare their independence from the decadent hordes of the Northeast.

    When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, you must first hold a convention.

    The convention should be at a central location and at an iconic venue that bespeaks tradition, stability and a solemn respect for local values and the momentous task at hand, a la Independence Hall in Philly.

    May I suggest Big Al’s in Peoria? It’s been a downstate institution for decades, is in the heart of downtown and opens at 11 in the morning, Monday through Friday. A little lunch, a couple of cocktails, some entertainment, then on in to history. Benjamin Franklin certainly would have approved.

  46. - Montrose - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:32 am:

    Lefty & Cincy-

    Life is complex. We all deal with a variety of issues everyday. The luxury of just working on one thing until that is accomplished and nothing else does not exist.

    The same goes for the General Assembly. They have to walk and chew gum at the same time. Work on budget issues did not come to a screeching halt because of the civil unions bill.

  47. - Lefty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    Jaded- O.K. then explain to me where they are headed?

  48. - Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    God knows the budget needs to get done. But, given the GA’s track record of avoiding any meaningful action on it, why should everything else be held hostage to the budget? It’s a disingenuous argument.

    The civil unions bill is about civil rights. Justice delayed is justice denied. It is arguably a far higher priority for legislators than squabbling over money.

  49. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:39 am:

    I have heard of a few cases of clergy who will perform a non-legal ceremony for seniors. It’s useful mainly due to survivor benefits. Ironically, the Christian clergy I’m most familiar with who do these ceremonies have been Catholic priests. My guess is, they do it without the Cardinal’s sanction, which could be why he seems unaware of this beneficial aspect of the civil unions law.

    I also know Rabbis who do it, but 1. I know a lot more rabbis than priests and 2. the organization of Jewish denominations does not follow a strict hierarchy other than general parameters. A rabbi is more likely to get fired/non-renewed from his temple than he is to get censured by anyone.

  50. - Lefty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:39 am:

    The House destination is secret, only known by the Speaker, so when they arrive he can say this is where he wanted to be all along!

  51. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:41 am:

    Cynic and Montrose,

    The walk and chew gum argument doesn’t wash, especially given the fact that the GA has done diddly-squat to handle the budget problems for the past several years.

    Even in Illinois, voters sent a message this election. Control budgets, reign in spending, limit taxes. For no other reason than perception, the legislators should work on these issues. There is a Gallup poll released today that asked Americans about their priorities for the Lame Duck Congress. All the top issues were economic. Would not the same sort of result be applicable in Illinois?

  52. - Jaded - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:44 am:

    Can’t do that, cause I don’t know. I could speculate but so can you. What I can tell you is they are headed exactly where the Speaker wants them to be headed and at the end of the day, he will be calling all the shots. I don’t know this because I can see the future, I know this because I learn from the past.

  53. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:45 am:

    ===Even in Illinois, voters sent a message this election. Control budgets, reign in spending, limit taxes.===

    Dude, what election were you watching? I saw the one where Pat Quinn and the Democrats were returned to power. Your side lost, Cincy, deal with it.

    The civil unions bill has been around for almost a decade. Where have you been that you think this is something new? Try to stay grounded in the real world with the rest of us.

  54. - Lefty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:46 am:

    Cincy- very well put. The majority does not rule, special interests do. Actions speak louder than words.

  55. - Montrose - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:46 am:


    Everyday the legislature is in session, they deal with dozens of bills that have nothing to do with the priorities that show up in polls.


    Because that is their job. There were a number of other non-budget bills dealt with yesterday, but those weren’t headline grabbers. They have to work on big and small things all the time.

    Have they been ignoring the budget problems for years? Yep. Is it because they spent an hour yesterday debating civil unions? Nope.

  56. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:53 am:

    I hope the Sen. can pass it today, World AIDS Day.

  57. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:54 am:

    Those arguing that budgetary matters should be first and foremost consider this. The leg is going to have to make a lot of people unhappy. They’re going to have to raise taxes and cut spending. Why not then pass a few items that will make people happy and won’t have an impact on the budget? People have derided Pat for suggesting there’s an economic angle to this, but consider how many gay professional people who have been educated in IL may decide to leave for somewhere where their rights will be respected? CA will soon either have civil unions or the Prop 8 ruling will be enforced, and will be a draw. MA and most of New England is a draw.

  58. - :iving in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:02 pm:

    Wordslinger, I can dream can’t I?

  59. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:02 pm:

    Rich’s idea of debate is to call someone an idiot and act as if that disposes of the issue.
    Really, Rich, who is being unrealistic here?

  60. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:09 pm:

    Okie, lol, are you dreaming of independence or Big Al’s?

  61. - Way South of the Border - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    This is a legitimate vote. We elect reps to a two-year term, not to a “two year term minus the session prior to the end of your service.” That would be silly.

  62. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:27 pm:

    === I completely concur that people of faith can disagree on this, but I’m not a Roman Catholic. If I was a Catholic, like Quinn, I’m not sure I could say that. ===

    According to the Pew Center, 62% of Catholics in the U.S. support civil unions.

    That fact greatly undermines the political if not moral authority of Cardinal George on this issue.

    Its tough to argue that the General Assembly should follow your lead when you haven’t even convinced your own parishioners.

    As for all of the whining about “lame duck” voting…all I can say is that the last thing we need in Springfield is a more politicized, more partisan legislature.

    And that’s what opponents of “lame duck” votes are really arguing: lawmakers are less partisan, less parochial, less motivated by politics after November 2nd.

    And this is a bad thing because?!?

  63. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:42 pm:


    Reading my statement above, you will see I am agnostic on the civil union situation, but I will take exception to one of your statements:

    “That fact greatly undermines the political if not moral authority of Cardinal George on this issue.”

    Wrong. The Church ain’t a democracy. Using that logic, since the Roman masses agreed, Jesus’s crucifixion was justified.

    Morality arguments don’t work that way, especially in the Catholic Church. Everyone may agree with Quinn’s position on civil unions, even the majority of Catholics. But that in no way squares the circle on Quinn’s defiance of Catholic doctrine, nor does it in any way reflect on Cardinal George’s moral authority. Nor should it. Quinn may have the upper hand on the political, but this stand says nothing about his superior moral judgement.

  64. - Way Way Down Here - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:45 pm:

    “. . .a solemn respect for local values. . .May I suggest Big Al’s in Peoria?”

    Too funny.

  65. - FarLefty - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:48 pm:

    “Quinn may have the upper hand on the political, but this stand says nothing about his superior moral judgement.”

    Just so we’re all clear - exactly what does morality have to do with civil unions and/or same-sex marriage?

  66. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:50 pm:


    I think that was why YDD specified that the percentage called in to question the Cardinal’s political authority, if not his moral authority.

    The Cardinal, politically, only has as much sway as the number of Catholic citizens willing to vote along with him. If he only has 38% of them with him, his political power is discounted by 62%. He only has as much moral authority as the Catholics in his Diocese are willing to grant him. And he has no more moral authority than any other clergy person when referring to his position among those not in the Catholic church.

  67. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 12:58 pm:

    Tone it down please.

  68. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 1:25 pm:


    I’m sorry. I’ll tone it down.

  69. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    What happened to my response?
    I didn’t call you an idiot. You called me an idiot and I suggested that was a weak argument. I realize it’s your web site, but you are quite the autocrat.

  70. - MrJM - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 3:06 pm:

    Far be it from me to question the historical and moral authority of state Rep. Ron Stephens, but I thought that it was drunken driving that lead to the fall of Rome.

    – MrJM

  71. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 4:19 pm:

    I’m not gay, but I’m so happy for the Senate’s passage of the bill and the imminent signing by Quinn. I’m very happy for my gay friends and colleagues. I knew of a few gay men in the past who married women just to stay in the closet and fool their families and society.

    Thank you also, supporters of civil unions, for not letting Illinois turn into a Bible Belt-ish state.

    I got into a big argument at work with a Christian fundamentalist who said homosexuality is taught through liberalism and tolerance, even though one of my best friends who’s gay said he hated being gay as a teenager and prayed that he would become straight. I’m glad we’re progressing so that people can be less ashamed of who they are.

    One of my coworkers said the other day that gays will burn in hell. I found out today that she may have liked Sen. Rutherford. I will get a picture of Mr. Rutherford, who will leave the Senate soon, and put it on my wall at work.

  72. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 5:08 pm:

    Wow, Grandson. Do you guys get much done at work with all that arguing and speculation about other people and their lives going on? Just wondering.

  73. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 6:31 pm:

    –Thank you also, supporters of civil unions, for not letting Illinois turn into a Bible Belt-ish state.–

    Brother, let’s not be hard on the Bible. Despite what some would tell you, there’s nothing in the Gospels that condemns gay folk. Or even defines “marriage,” much less civil unions.

    By the way, we now live in 2010.

    There’s certainly nothing in the Gospels about any guys in funny hats and robes laying it down for all to walk the line. I take it back, there was, but they were the bad guys.

    There is certainly nothing in the Constitution, where “We the People…. do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

    A lot of so-called Christians put down their Bibles after Leviticus (Old Testament, for those who don’t know). Historians speculate that was Moses road-trip rules for his excellent adventure in the desert (if it ever really happened).

  74. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 7:15 pm:

    =By the way, we now live in 2010.=

    Yup, but that also shouldn’t mean that respect for others’ privacy should suddenly go out the window just because civil unions passed today. While I’m sure Grandson means no harm, just reading his comments makes me wonder whether perhaps he’s speaking a bit more freely today about others’ experiences and personal lives than he would have yesterday. Same goes for a post on another thread regarding a former spouse. Just my two cents.

  75. - Okay Then/Will County Woman - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 7:20 pm:

    I don’t know how Meeks expects to become mayor of Chicago after today. I hope that he isn’t putting any serious money into this race. It would be foolish of anyone to donate to his campaign at this point—he does not stand any chance of winning.

  76. - Okay Then/Will County Woman - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 7:25 pm:

    @Rahm’s Parking Meter

    Sigh. I wish people had as much interest in the state’s fiscal crisis as much as they do the social issues. I’m really hoping that Quinn and Vaught get the fy’12 budget done on time, unlike the fy ‘11 budget.

  77. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 7:32 pm:

    Wow. WCW and I agree on yet another thing. This is a great day.

  78. - 23 Years & Counting - Wednesday, Dec 1, 10 @ 11:51 pm:

    And people wonder why it is that gay youth are the highest risk group for suicide, one only needs to observe what passes for debate on this issue.

    My partner and I have been together since 1987, we are very much looking forward to the legal protections that will be available to us through a civil union. A few years ago we made a mad dash to MMC’s ER at 10 PM because she was having a severe allergic reaction, how absurd it was that I had to stop long enough to get the medical power of attorney paperwork in case we encountered issues at the hospital.

    We both are productive members of society, we love each other, and we don’t spend our time telling others how they should live their lives. Whatever the cause(s) are for the stars aligning at this particular moment, we say Yea!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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