* One of the blunders made by gay marriage proponents yesterday was choosing a Senate bill on 1st Reading as their vehicle. That meant the bill had a six-day committee posting requirement (rules required the bill to be posted for a hearing for six days before it could actually be voted on in committee). So, the Senate had to vote to set aside its own rule after the Republicans demanded a floor vote. And that led to the second blunder, a failure to count the votes…
A proposal that would allow same-sex couples to say “I do” hit a slight delay Wednesday in the Illinois Senate.
An attempt by Democrats to fast-track the Religious Freedom and Marriage Protection Act fell two votes short of the 30 needed Wednesday to send the bill to the Senate Executive Committee. Some supporting lawmakers were not present to vote Wednesday but are expected to be present today.
The measure would make Illinois the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage.
The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said she plans to bring the bill to the Senate Executive Committee at 11 a.m. today and then to the Senate floor later in the day.
“Some of the folks who would vote for (the immediate hearing) will be there tomorrow morning,” Steans said. “So we’ll do the vote (then).”
Steans said two senators who would vote in favor of the gay marriage bill were absent Wednesday. She declined to name them, but said both will be present Thursday.
Subscribers know who those two are and where the roll call stands at the moment.
* Illinois Review looks at the history…
While the Democrats have majorities in both Illinois chambers, their caucus members include those that represent downstate conservative districts, whose seats are needed to maintain Democrat majorities. So in both the Senate and the House, bill sponsors of controversial social issues must work to get simple majorities without Downstate Democrats. Sometimes that includes appealing to a more socially-liberal Republican or two to 1.) pass the legislation without the Downstate Dems, and 2.) make the legislation appear as having “bi-partisan support,” something that soothes moderate voters.
The civil union bill SB 1716 fit that pattern. In the Senate, downstate Democrats Gary Forby (Benton), Bill Haine (East Alton), John Sullivan (Quincy) and Chicago area social conservative Democrats Viverito and Meeks all voted “no”,” leaving 27 Democrats supporting the measure. That number alone would have been enough to pass the legislation. However, one Republican State Senator - Dan Rutherford – added the “bipartisan” vote to the Democrats’ victory.
If these four Democrats were opposed in 2010 to the more moderate-sounding “civil unions,” it’s likely they will vote “no” on same sex marriage, but their opinions may have changed over the last two years, as well.
Several 2010 Senate Democrats that voted “yes” on civil unions - Bond, Demuzio, Hendon, Emil Jones II, and Wilhelmi - and Viverito, who voted “no,” are no longer in the Senate. Democrats Emil Jones III, Pat McQuire, Steven Landek and Annazette Collins now fill their seats, along with Republicans Sam McCann and Suzie Schmidt. While all the new Democrats are likely to be “yes” votes on gay marriage, McCann will likely be a “no” vote, and reports are that Schmidt is leaning to vote “yes.” That leaves the count of the newbies similar to the 2010 civil union vote.
* But here’s a new wrinkle. The proponents have found a new vehicle bill, and it’s a House bill which is already on Second Reading. It’ll be heard in Executive Committee today at 11 o’clock. Passage, however, is not yet 100 percent assured. Subscribers know more.
* Make sure to keep an eye on today’s live session coverage post for the latest on this and other issues.
* By the way, this Reuters report is completely bogus…
A key issue to be resolved is whether Illinois should allow religious groups the option of declining to perform same-sex marriages.
That is totally, absolutely false. Never, ever have proponents wanted to force clerics to hold a religious service for gay people. In fact, any such law would almost certainly be unconstitutional.
From the bill…
(a-5) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require any religious denomination or Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group, or any minister, clergy, or officiant acting as a representative of a religious denomination or Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group, to solemnize any marriage. […]
No refusal by a religious denomination or Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group, or any minister, clergy, or officiant acting as a representative of a religious denomination or Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group to solemnize any marriage under this Act shall create or be the basis for any civil, administrative, or criminal penalty, claim, or cause of action
* Gay-marriage bill suffers procedural setback; not ‘fatal blow,’ Cullerton aide says
* Thursday vote sought for Illinois gay marriage law
* Gay Marriage Debate Heats Up in Illinois
* Conservatives react to ILGOP Chair lobbying for gay marriage
* VIDEO: Illinois lame duck session