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Will gay marriage push begin in 2013?

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012

* Windy City Times

A group of Illinois legislators has started meeting with local LGBT groups to strategize on making marriage equality a reality in Illinois.

State representatives Greg Harris, Deb Mell, Ann Williams, Kelly Cassidy, Sara Feigenholtz and Senator Heather Steans are in talks with Illinois organizations about introducing a bill that would allow same-sex partners to marry in Illinois.

According to Harris, the bill will not likely be introduced until at least 2013. Harris believes the fight will be difficult, especially as anti-gay political candidates work to bolster support for upcoming presidential elections.

“I do not delude myself into thinking this will be an easy process,” Harris said. “But we need to take the first step.”

It might take several more years to pass that bill once it’s introduced. Keep in mind that Illinois passed an anti-discrimination bill for gays almost exactly seven years ago after many, many years of work. Organizers started laying the groundwork almost immediately for gay marriage, but it took another six years before the General Assembly passed a civil unions bill. Gay marriage could take a while longer. Then again, maybe it won’t take as long. There really hasn’t been much of a sustained blowback on the civil unions bill. So, we’ll see.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 2:53 pm:

    It could also be the polling information legislators obtained for the Civil Unions bill shows gay marriage has more support than most of us think. I was surprised to see how OK southern Illinois is with it.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 3:13 pm:

    It might happen sooner than you think. The trend line in support is definitely up, with younger Americans the strongest group in support and older Americans the strongest in opposition.

  3. - reformer - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 3:21 pm:

    The slippery slope argument is often invoked in Springfield to oppose all kinds of changes.

    In the case of civil unions, which I favor, the slippery slope clearly applies. Which suggests that opponents of same-sex marriage were rational in opposing civil unions as moving us on down that slope.

  4. - Montrose - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 3:25 pm:

    “In the case of civil unions, which I favor, the slippery slope clearly applies. Which suggests that opponents of same-sex marriage were rational in opposing civil unions as moving us on down that slope.”

    True, but as others have indicated, that slippery slope is pointing directly towards public opinion.

  5. - Esquire - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out if an advisory referendum question on this same subject qualifies for the ballot. I expect that there may be a lengthy petition objection contest waged to scrutinize any such referendum being submitted to the voters.

    Thus far, opponents of same sex marriage have prevailed in each of the states where the question was put to a vote. I think that there is sufficient strong support for the legislation suggested by Representative Harris in the General Assembly, but I wonder if a the results of a non-binding referendum could alter that if the legislators could see actual voting data from their constituencies.

  6. - John Bambenek - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 3:35 pm:

    If the gay marriage supporters were smart, they would do exactly that, put out a statewide referenda on the topic.

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===I expect that there may be a lengthy petition objection contest waged to scrutinize any such referendum being submitted to the voters.===

    Perhaps, but I doubt they’d do it anyway.

  8. - amalia - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 3:55 pm:

    Congratulations on the start of the effort and cheers on for success!!!!

  9. - Northsider - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:19 pm:

    Marriage equality in Illinois? Hellyeah.

    My marriage is in no way, shape, or form determined by anyone else’s marriage status, let alone whether gay/lesbian couples wish to be married.

    Nor is it determined by gay marriages that exist in Iowa, New York, Massachusetts, Canada, etc., where — amazingly enough — the Sun still rises in the east and sets in the west, and people still go about their lives trying to get by as best they can.

    If your religion doesn’t sanction it, fine; your religion shouldn’t be required by state law to have marriage ceremonies for gay/lesbian couples. It’d be unconstitutional for the state to impose that recognition upon religion anyway. But there is no legitimate reason for the state to not recognize gay marriage.

  10. - northernIL - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:19 pm:

    Well, time for Equality Illinois to put its tail between its legs and call Rick Garcia back.

  11. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:20 pm:

    Why would you waste money on a statewide petition drive that could be used to elect candidates that are friendly to your cause? Or grassroots lobbying?

    Its not a question of if, only “when.”

    Of course, the same thing was said of healthcare reform.

  12. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:22 pm:

    The question of whether states have the right to deny same-sex couples marriage could be decided in favor of gays by the U.S. Supreme Ct long before it’s taken up by the IL General Assembly.

  13. - Peggy R - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:25 pm:

    Why bother? We were told civil unions weren’t to be the same as marriage, but DCFS told Catholic Charities to take a hike and said they were to be treated the same.

  14. - ChicagoR - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:37 pm:

    Peggy, the language of the civil union statute plainly says that a party to a civil union is “entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits as are afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses”. While the terms may be different, the language plainly says the rights and treatment are to be the same. So I’m not sure who said they weren’t. It was all out there when voted into law.

  15. - Up North - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:52 pm:

    It is time for Equality Illinois to bring back its top gun and get Rick Garcia in on this from the begining. You’ll need him again.

  16. - Peggy R - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:55 pm:

    Equality IL promised the following:

    Religious Freedom:

    “The Act would ensure that religious denominations are not forced to recognize or solemnize civil unions. The Act expressly provides that: “Nothing in this Act shall interfere with or regulate the religious practice of any religious body. Any religious body, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group is free to choose whether or not to solemnize or officiate a civil union.” Every religious tradition can decide for itself whether or not to officiate at civil union ceremonies.
    This Act would also not impact faith-based adoption agencies or adoption procedures. The Act does not amend the Adoption Act.”
    I have understood that NOT every right or obligation of married couples was to be conferred upon civil unions so as to help widowed folks enter into a c.u. instead of marriage, and retain SS benefits, something alow those lines.

  17. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 4:57 pm:

    In an era where less and less “straight” folk in this country are getting married - just shacking up, let alone going the route of a civil union, it seems curious that the gay community is so determined to have the right to have their unions called marriage. Just sayin’.

    It appeared clear from the start that the civil union thing was just the first step - that marriage for all adult couples was the final destination. For those older Americans who oppose it I guess they will just have to deal with it.

  18. - Peggy R - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:00 pm:

    BTW, people are discriminated in the adoption process by many factors, not just marriage. Age is a big issue, so is income. Whether one has a criminal record or has been charge with crimes against children are factors too in adoptions.

  19. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:01 pm:

    Peggy R,

    What the state may grant and what the feds may grant are two different things. SS is a federal thing.

    For example if you have a marriage vs a civil union between two partners I think the tax status of some benefits is different.

    For example with at least same sex partners if you r company offered them benefits they were taxable where they were not if you are married.

    Not sure about that anymore but that used to be the case.

    As long as they keep the government out of how my faith decides to define it I don’t see a difference anymore anyway

  20. - ChicagoR - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:02 pm:

    Well, if you thought that the rights or obligations of married couples weren’t all to be conferred upon civil unions, then you must not have read the law that was actually being debated. It’s in there several times.

  21. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:05 pm:

    It’s way past time for this.

  22. - Peggy R - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:11 pm:

    I see no need for a same-sex “marriage” law. The damage has already been done, frankly. Card George has been dully bullied and put in his place as well.

  23. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:22 pm:

    ==I see no need for a same-sex “marriage” law.==

    Neither do I; the government should get out of the business of marriage and just recognize civil unions. Marriage can be left to the various religions or other orgnizations. Let people make their marriage vows where they wish, how they wish, and not be denied by state or federal law.

  24. - Anon3 - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:41 pm:

    Peggy R- Card George has been dully bullied and put in his place as well.
    Really bullied? The “Card” said what he said, Most importantly meant what he said Frankly he should have stuck to his guns. However, Card Goorge is not one to be bullied and was not bullied in this situation.
    This may fit nicely the woo is me but that is all.
    I am a practicing catholic btw

  25. - Chevy owner/Ford County - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 5:45 pm:

    Peggy, Catholic Charities is free to discriminate all it wants against whomever it wants. It just cannot do it with taxpayer monies. You want to support their discrimination? Write them a check…just don’t expect the state to give them my gay tax money.

    On the marriage equality issue, hopefully this will all be moot and the US Supremes will have ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional and that the Full Faith and Credit Act applies to all state sanctioned marriages which will force those states, like Illinois, (and the federal government) that do not have equal marriage laws, to recognize those marriages performed in other states.

  26. - Peggy R - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 6:18 pm:

    A Huff Post piece late last week documented the coordination among Chicago MSM and gay media.

    Also, the Card said “could morph into” not “is like.” I agree he should not have apologized.

    I don’t expect to ‘win’ cultural discussions here, but I like getting the IL political news here. I hope I change at least 1 heart or two along the way. Happy New Year.

  27. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 6:22 pm:

    Let’s, for once, compete with our border states for business. If we can’t get revenue just down the road from the Hammond casino, we ought to get a stake in the wedding industry away from Iowa.

    Same-sex marriages will probably generate more revenue for Illinois than the Sears tax breaks will in a couple of years. Why not make ‘em legal?

  28. - Peggy R - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 6:23 pm:

    If I may, on the adoption “rights.” There is no “right” for married couples to adopt. So, there cannot be a right for civil union members to adopt. There is a preference by many experts that children be adopted by married couples. And many religious entities hold that view.

    Secondly, the court did not find that the Catholic Charities were in violation of the civil union law, but simply that they were not entitled to state contracts.

    Sorry to monopolize things here.

  29. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 7:27 pm:

    @Peggy R:

    Catholic Charities - while affiliated with the Catholic Church - is a separate entity and by defn. NOT a “religious denomination.”

    Secondly, Catholic Charities’ contract with the state was to provide services to children and act in their best interests. And no one in their right mind could argue that a child is better of being placed in a foster home with complete strangers than with their aunt just because their aunt is gay.

    Nor could anyone in their right mind argue that a child is better off bouncing from foster home to foster home until they are 18 than being placed in a loving two-parent home just because those two parents are women.

    Or, non-Catholics for that matter…lets remember that CC had a policy of discriminating against non-Catholics.

    Finally, let me remind you that the Child Care Association of Illinois, which represents foster care experts across the state, OPPOSED CC’s effort to rewrite the law not out of political correctness, but because CC was violating the standards of practice for the profession.

    Make sense?

  30. - Freedom to Marry - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 7:53 pm:

    I believe that every state that has achieved same-sex marriage through legislative — as opposed to judicial — means, there have been at least five openly gay members of the state legislature. IL currently has three. Perhaps that will change.

  31. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 7:57 pm:

    Slam dunk.

    Conservatives in Illinois won’t be a speedbump in the road. They would rather just do Church Lady’s superior dance about it.

  32. - wishbone - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 8:01 pm:

    “The damage has already been done, frankly.”

    And the damage is what exactly? Who has been harmed by giving loving couples the right to enter into civil unions? Please, please spell out the harm you have suffered.

  33. - Tom - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 9:21 pm:

    To me its about the 14th amendment, separate but equal did not fly with the courts them and ultimately I doubt it will fly now. A marriage is one part civil contract and often one part religious institution. The religious institutions can do what they like but the government administering the civil part must treat ALL couples equally, at least that is my interpretation DOMA not withstanding.

  34. - mark walker - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 9:36 pm:

    I think acceptance of these equal rights is picking up speed among the electorate in Illinois, mostly because the sky didn’t fall this year, and our civilization continues to progress. Getting it passed could be quicker than for civil unions.

    Major kudos to Greg Harris, and his many allies in all branches of Illinois government.

    Assume Garcia will effectively fight for this regardless of what organization he’s in. We’re not lacking in good leadership from many directions.

    BTW, my 40 yr marriage still doesn’t need any defense by Congress, thank you very much.

  35. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 11, 12 @ 10:42 pm:

    Rich -

    I think its worth pointing out that while its true that the Illinois Constitution could be amended, you still couldn’t pass an ex post facto law.

    That’s why, for example, a Constitutional amendment abolishing the Comptroller’s Office can’t take affect until the current officeholder leaves.

  36. - Newsclown - Thursday, Jan 12, 12 @ 7:15 am:

    I think the process needed the intermediate step of civil unions, to have a chance of progressing further. Having civil unions was a benefit to straight couples as well as gay ones.

    While my parents would have conniptions over it, I really don’t have a problem with gay marriage either, as long as the law puts it squarely in the secular area only, with no infringing on what any religion thinks about it. The paperwork is the same, the judge performs it, it’s a legal relationship. If they frame the effort at a bill in that way, I think it has a good chance to pass in an off-election year.

  37. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 12, 12 @ 8:18 am:

    –Also, the Card said “could morph into” not “is like.” I agree he should not have apologized.–

    Because Gay Pride Parade Organizers could morph into the KKK?

  38. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 12, 12 @ 8:22 am:

    –In an era where less and less “straight” folk in this country are getting married - just shacking up, let alone going the route of a civil union, it seems curious that the gay community is so determined to have the right to have their unions called marriage. Just sayin’.–

    Why’s that curious? And why is it anyone’s business? Do you submit to outside judgement on your private life?

  39. - John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt - Thursday, Jan 12, 12 @ 8:25 am:

    Think we could get the Gay Marriage supporters to back CCW and preemption, in return for some support?

    Think we could get the Gun Rights supporters to back Gay Marriage, in return for some support?

    Dream on.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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