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Quinn goes all-in on gay marriage

Friday, May 11, 2012

* Back in October of 2010, Gov. Pat Quinn said he fully supported civil unions, but had this to say when he was asked about gay marriage

Quinn said wasn’t opposed to legalizing gay marriage in Illinois. He said he wouldn’t “stand in the way, if the voters of Illinois want to have it come to pass.”

That looks to me like he wanted some sort of referendum. But, as we’ve discussed before, he began to change his public stance this year

Asked on Valentine’s Day if he would sign a gay marriage bill, Quinn said, “I haven’t looked at that yet; I’ll take a look at it.”

Soon after, Quinn told Chicago public radio that he looks “forward to working with the advocates on this issue to build a majority.”

* But then President Obama announced recently that he supported gay marriage. The announcement came in the wake of North Carolina’s statewide vote against the issue. The Democratic National Convention is in NC this year, so the plebiscite became a big dealio with the national media. Then there was the uproar about Mitt Romney giving a gay high school classmate a forced haircut, and the vice president’s comments recently about supporting gay marriage.

Quinn is almost always in lockstep with Obama on just about everything, so the governor jumped into the fray yesterday

“He stands with the president in supporting this,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “The governor believes in equal rights for all people.”

* So, was that a flip-flop? No, says the Quinn administration

Spokeswoman Matsoff maintained that Quinn isn’t changing his position, because he had said before that he wouldn’t stand in the way if a gay marriage bill passed the General Assembly.

That’s not what he said in 2010.

* So, could a vote happen soon? Not yet

State Rep. Greg Harris, an openly gay Chicago Democrat who helped lead the successful push to bring civil unions to Illinois, also suggested it was unlikely a push for gay marriage would take place anytime soon.

“I never put a time frame on the civil union vote. I won’t put a time frame on this one. I’ll keep counting noses,” Harris said.

But, Harris said Obama’s announcement this week represents a huge step forward for supporters of gay marriage.

“History was made by the president when he came out and made that statement,” said Harris, who is sponsoring a gay marriage bill. “Change is happening, and it’s happening more quickly than I would have thought.”

* But maybe after the election

Strategically, Garcia said, gay rights activists in the state had no expectation that marriage rights would be politically palatable this soon after the civil unions law passed.

“Our plan was to pass civil unions and then let everybody who voted yes on civil unions get through their next election, which is this November,” he said.

There will be a ton of lame ducks who might be able to vote for this in January, when a simple majority is all that’s needed to pass a bill.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


21 Comments
  1. - too obvious - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 11:04 am:

    Go ahead and do it. It’s just a matter of time anyway. The holy rollers in this state won’t even put up a speed bump.


  2. - Voltaire - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 11:05 am:

    “That’s not what he said in 2010.”

    Actually it looks like it is, based on the quote you provided earlier in the article. What am I missing?


  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 11:11 am:

    Unless I’m mistaken, 2/3 of Fortune 500 companies provide equality for same sex couples.

    It seems to me that the GOP would be hard-pressed to argue that the US Chamber of Commerce is undermining America’s values.


  4. - dave - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 11:43 am:

    **Actually it looks like it is, based on the quote you provided earlier in the article. What am I missing? **

    Thanks… I was wondering the same thing. I don’t see how this is a flip-flop from Quinn.


  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 11:46 am:

    ===I don’t see how this is a flip-flop from Quinn. ===

    Because it looked to me like he was calling for a referendum.


  6. - dave - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 11:51 am:

    **Because it looked to me like he was calling for a referendum. **

    Seems like you’re reading into that a but much. It seems to me like it is just a rehashing of his “make the will of the people the law of the land” line.


  7. - Anon - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 11:59 am:

    What exactly is there to “take a look at?” Really what he is saying is he hasn’t decided if that would be a good move for him politically or not.


  8. - wordslinger - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:17 pm:

    The train’s leaving, and Quinn got on. It’s defeat notwithstanding, the measure getting 40% in North Carolina would have been unimaginable five years ago.

    The trend is unmistakeable, particularly when you look at support levels among the age groups. Younger, yes. Older, no.

    Some pretty nifty footwork by the Obama folks. They keep silent until after the NC vote, keeping it from being a “defeat” for Obama.

    Then, they send Crazy Joe Biden out to the Sunday shows to “inadvertently” soften up the ground.

    Finally, Obama’s “evolution” is complete, just in time for hero’s welcomes at West Coast funders.

    Now it’s done, at the earliest possible moment between the NC vote and the general election.


  9. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    @dave -

    Well, I think a reasonable interpretation was “I’ll be for it when its popular” or “this is not an issue I’m ready to lead on” or a may generous “when the time is right.”

    Frankly, if advocates for equal rights for gay Americans don’t have a problem with Quinn’s position now and didn’t have a problem with it then, I’m hard-pressed to quibble.

    To me, the “flip-flops” by Obama and Romney are much more obvious. Earlier in their careers, both told gay rights advocates that they were with them. Obama’s been forgiven for making the political decision to take a step back because he’s taken some giant leaps forward. Romney, by contrast, keeps digging himself in a deeper hole.

    The only conclusion that advocates can reasonably draw is that Obama has always supported personally supported equality in his heart, but made the political calculation not to support it as a presidential candidate. And, by contrast, Romney has always opposed equality in his heart, but made the political decision to reach out to Log Cabin Republicans when running in liberal-leaning Massachusetts.


  10. - So. ILL - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:23 pm:

    I don’t care one way or another about this, but I do have a question. During the Civil Union debate, concerns were raised by GOP members that Civil Unions were just a stepping stone to gay marriage. I believe the proponents of the bill said something along the lines of “not necessarily…yada yada, this is about legal fairness, yada ya.” Every one knew at the time that wasn’t true, and here we are.


  11. - So. ILL - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    The question then is were proponents lying in the lame duck session?


  12. - Wensicia - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    I’m pleased Quinn is jumping on the band wagon, but disappointed he doesn’t lead the fight on these issues. He always follows others until support becomes popular.


  13. - David Ormsby - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    Like Obama, you know that in his heart that Quinn, after elevating the civil unions bill signing to major event status, would be for same-sex marriage.

    He’s also probably thinking, with his “everybody in, nobody out” motto, why should only heterosexuals be miserable and paying alimony.

    Welcome to equality.


  14. - Team Sleep - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    Should this be an amendment to the state constitution? That would be my question. A regular bill in the GA could be watered down. I would rather see the matter be voted upon by the citizens and then upheld by the Supreme Court. I think it would pass - maybe not easily - but I do believe such an amendment would become law.


  15. - Rutherford B. Jayes - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    Any way we could tax the issuance of marriage licenses and divorce decrees in to generate some revenue for the state?


  16. - park - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 12:56 pm:

    Apparently Axelrod thinks this issue is a winner, and all the troops are coming together….saw something about Jesse Jackson joining in. I don’t see it, but I don’t have the underlying numbers.

    Re: Quinn, I don’t see it as a flip-flop. If it’s liberal and a little weird, he’s usually on board.


  17. - Dirty Red - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 1:29 pm:

    This is a total flip-flop from what Quinn said in the primary. He very clearly said during one of the televised debates in January 2010 that he supported civil unions but not marriage.


  18. - Amusing Myself - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 1:38 pm:

    Thinking exactly the same thing, So. IL. I believe the term thrown around then was “alarmist.”


  19. - JustaJoe - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 2:53 pm:

    Conservatives tend to lose in the word re-definition game. This one is lost and as one commenter put it “it’s only a matter of time”. I think that is too bad, because more careful and thoughtful discussion all the way around could have probably found a way to keep the definition of marriage as a bond between one man and one woman and found some new equally meaningful term for homosexual bonds that would have the same secular meaning in law without attacking the long-held traditional meaning attached to marriage as it has been through the ages.


  20. - wishbone - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 4:07 pm:

    “…without attacking the long-held traditional meaning attached to marriage as it has been through the ages.”

    Yeah, yawn. Tell it to Newt. The bigots’ reasons for their hate have become so laughable.


  21. - wordslinger - Friday, May 11, 12 @ 5:44 pm:

    “…without attacking the long-held traditional meaning attached to marriage as it has been through the ages.”

    Simultaneously, Abraham had three. David at least 18. And swinging Solomon at least 700, plus another 300 on the side.

    That’s tradition through the ages.

    I doubt if that can of worms is going to be opened up this election cycle.


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