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Anti gay marriage petition drive and gay marriage bill both come up short

Monday, Apr 16, 2012

* Considering that this group claims 50,000 members and has the backing of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Citizens of Illinois and other groups, gathering just 100,000 signatures looks like a fairly big failure

This spring, the Illinois Defense of Marriage Initiative sought 500,000 signatures to put a non-binding referendum on the November ballot, recommending the state legislature enshrine in the state constitution rules that forbid same-sex marriage.

Jim Finnegan, the president of the initiative, said that effort will fall short with the group likely acquiring about 100,000 signatures by the end of the month. However, he said it still sends a message that those opposed to gay marriage are willing to come forward.

The proposed wording

To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose

* Meanwhile, the gay marriage bill is still stuck in the House Rules Committee

State Rep. Greg Harris (D–Chicago) told the Chicago Sun-Times that reeling in Medicaid and pensions programs as well as approving an overall budget would take precedence during the homestretch of the General Assembly’s spring session.

“I never say never,” Harris quipped. “[But] I don’t think there will be a push before the end of this session.”

His bill, HB 5170, would delete a provision outlawing marriage between individuals of the same sex.

It was first introduced on Feb. 8 and, perhaps unsurprisingly during an election year in which fiscal issues have been front-and-center, remains pent up in the House Rules Committee.

As I’ve been saying for a while now, it’s probably way too early to move that gay marriage bill. It’ll take more time. It took years to pass a civil rights bill, then several more to get civil unions.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


23 Comments
  1. - mark walker - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:06 am:

    Finnegan’s fighting a rear-guard action.

    Harris’ pro-marriage forces will win the war.


  2. - just sayin' - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    Oh let ‘em get married. Who cares. It’s just a matter of time anyway.

    I say why shouldn’t gay people be as miserable as everyone else. lol


  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:10 am:

    It will take some time, but it’s only a matter of time. Enthusiasm for marriage is waning in virtually every group but gays.


  4. - reformer - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    Conservatives in Britain support same-sex marriage. Here’s how Prime Minister David Cameron puts it:

    “I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage BECAUSE I am a conservative.”

    Leading British conservative Matthew D’Ancona explains: “Conservatives contend marriage is the cornerstone of a stable society. IT’s extension to same-sex couples will be a stabilizing force. Gay couples who marry will be recruited to, and reinforce, an ancient institution.”


  5. - lincoln's beard - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:21 am:

    This is the same ballot language used in Michigan in 2004. Not only did courts interpret it to ban same-sex marriage, it also prohibits civil unions and registration of domestic partnerships. It further prohibited the extension of domestic partner benefits like health insurance to employees of state agencies and universities.


  6. - collar observer - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    Don’t get me wrong - I support equal rights for all - including marriage - but I would sure appreciate Harris’ brains and courage on our critical economic issues at this moment!


  7. - Wensicia - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:28 am:

    “However, he said it still sends a message that those opposed to gay marriage are willing to come forward.”

    The larger message is that more people in this state don’t see gay marriage as a threat to their own heterosexual relationships.

    This “Initiative” is a step backward. I don’t think many want to see benefits denied to those with similar unions, nor do they want to see it put to a vote.


  8. - How Ironic - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:32 am:

    @ Collar Observer,

    Human rights and equality should never take a ‘back burner’ to pension reforms or whatever current econmic issues are the problem of the moment.

    I see no reason why BOTH can’t be seriously debated.


  9. - Hopalong Cassadeech - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    How much money towards the state budget will this raise?

    Because……really…..isn’t that what everyone should be working on? I hate to say it, because I’m behind the movement, but for god’s sakes……just do what NEEDS to be done this year for the financial emergency we ALL face.


  10. - frustrated GOP - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    I guess they didn’t think about the downside of not getting it on the ballot. Opps, Look, they only get get 100,000 in the whole state who care about keeping same sex marriage off the books. So really how much of a force are they really? I’m seeing that dropped off a lot of november literature today.


  11. - Aldyth - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:46 am:

    With the world class problem solving skills of our legislators being aimed with laser-like focus on balancing the state budget, clearing up the overdue bills, and bringing jobs to Illinois, we should have those issues taken care of in short order.

    Surely, they wouldn’t get side tracked into legislating who gets to be married or civil unioned to whom. Right?


  12. - Robert - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 10:47 am:

    ==I would sure appreciate Harris’ brains and courage on our critical economic issues at this moment!==
    It seems like he can do two things at once, as Rep. Harris seems to be a leader in educating folks about specific impacts of medicaid cuts.


  13. - Northsider - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 11:17 am:

    About 100,000 when they needed 500,000? That, my friends, is the textbook definition of EPIC FAIL!

    The only message that sends is that bigots are in an ever-shrinking minority.


  14. - MrJM - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 11:19 am:

    When I saw yesterday’s online version of Sun-Times story about the gay marriage bill falling short, it was adjacent to this story.

    Friends, we must forbid gay marriages to protect the sanctity of Kelsey Grammer’s fourth marriage!

    – MrJM


  15. - reformer - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    The failure of the initiative drive is another in a string of defeats for the reactionaries. The lost on civil unions. They lost on civil rights for gays. They lost on Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down all state sodomy laws.


  16. - D.P. Gumby - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    Abolish marriage as a legal exercise and leave it to religion; adopt civil unions for all.


  17. - Southern Peggy R - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    I question the geographic reach of the K of C effort. There has been no comprehensive push by the bishops or K of C statewide to call upon the faithful to take a stand. If they had promoted this effort, they might have done much better.


  18. - NTTAWWT - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    I think this is a case of the advocates on either side of the question having generated issue fatigue with the voters, canceling each other out to leave a status quo the voters seem comfortable with for now. Voters seem to understand Civil Unions didn’t lead to their cities turning to salt. But now they feel like this question has been addressed sufficiently for now.

    I think the voters feel like Civil Unions is a happy medium, and it is going to take a while longer before the deficiencies of those unions become obvious to enough voters to push ahead and extend further parity. I think they WILL get there given time, that certainly seems like the prevailing trend. I think they feel they are on the right side of history but conversely, they don’t want to feel stampeded to advance further quite yet. I think this is the time to consolidate the gains made and not risk losing what’s been achieved now.

    You have a country still tearing itself apart over a black man being elected President, less than 50 years after Dr. King. It’s about 43 years since Stonewall. I would point and say in both cases the rate of change and progress are remarkable considering what came before. Is it enough? No. Will it be solved overnight? No. This is something that takes the dying off of older generations before the younger, less prejudiced ones take over.


  19. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 1:26 pm:

    ==How much money towards the state budget will this raise?==

    How much does a marriage license cost and what entity keeps that money? Also, think about the people who would come here and get married, the way Deb Mell went to Iowa for her ceremony. Same sex marriage is good for the economy.


  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    I’m not sure I’d characterize the Harris bill as “stuck” in Rules.

    I’m sure Rules is ready to move the bill as soon as Harris is.


  21. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 16, 12 @ 3:05 pm:

    Northsider -

    This was NEVER about actually getting a referendum on the ballot.

    This is a classic organizing tool for building a mailing list.

    Assuming about half those signers are actually registered to vote, they’ve got a nice targeted direct mail list.


  22. - Irish Jim - Tuesday, Apr 17, 12 @ 12:57 pm:

    The response from those able to be reached on the referendum was very positive. Southern Peggy R has it 100% correct. People have very strong feelings on not redefining marriage, but rather strengthening it.

    When given the opportunity to be heard, all reached strongly voiced their opinion that family, country, and children benefit from the strength that traditional marriage provides.

    We will continue to lobby for the solution to this critical discussion in the democratic way by letting the peoples voice be heard at the ballot box. Governor of New Jersey Cris Cristy has got this one right. What is the homosexual lobby afraid of? In the democratic manner, let the people vote.


  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 18, 12 @ 7:12 am:

    Irish Jim, you and Peggy are out there strengthening “marriage” by opposing consenting adults from marrying?

    Seriously, how would two individuals expression of commitment hurt you? In any way? Conversely, is divorce a crime to you? There’s quite a bit of that going around.

    WWJD? Certainly not use government to poke his nose in other people’s private lives and bedrooms.


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