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One step back…

Thursday, Jan 3, 2013

* 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

* Related…

* 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

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    Painful mistake by the Reuters reporter, one that can only be explained by “I didn’t do the reading.”

  2. - John Bambenek - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    From the Civil Unions bill, titled “Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act”

    Sec. 15. Religious freedom. 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.

    If I recall, Catholic Charities was shut out of adoptions before that bill even took effect.

    You’ll pardon my skepticism.

  3. - ChicagoR - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:29 am:

    Really wish I were a subscriber today. My bad.

  4. - B2Chicago - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:31 am:

    Right there with you, it’s painful to know there’s more information right there behind the paywall… Any chance for a weekly rate for this issue? :P

  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    In fact, any such law would almost certainly be unconstitutional. - That is not a problem for a vast majority of Illinois lawmakers. Just look at some of the proposed Pension legislation. Or the complete snub of the U.S. Constitutions second amendment.

  6. - amalia - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    good luck fighters for marriage equality !

  7. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    One step forward. How about the live video of senator Mark Kirk ascending the steps of the US Capitol on his return to work:

    ABC 7 Chicago ‏@ABC7Chicago

    LIVE VIDEO of @SenatorKirk at U.S. Capitol

  8. - B2Chicago - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    @John Bambanek - Quote: If I recall, Catholic Charities was shut out of adoptions before that bill even took effect. You’ll pardon my skepticism.

    The issue was that Catholic Charities received state funding to perform public functions including adoption services. Catholic Charities objected to treating couples in civil unions the same as married couples (which was the purpose of the original civil unions legislation).

    Catholic Charities tried to have its cake and eat it too by receiving public funds but not abiding by public laws. Catholic Charities could have continued performing adoption services and discriminating against gay couples, but it couldn’t get paid by the state to do so.

  9. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    @John Bambenek:

    Your attempted comparison is apples and oranges. The state has every right to decide who they contract with. Catholic Charties made the decision not to offer adoptions to same-sex couples, which was a requirement of the contracts. They did not uphold the terms of the contract and, thus, the contracts were terminated. Nobody FORCED them to place children with same-sex couples. And they still don’t. The state simply said they will no longer receive state funds to provide such services which is well within the rights of the state.

  10. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    - If I recall, Catholic Charities was shut out of adoptions before that bill even took effect. -

    Shocker that logic is lost on you, John.

    Catholic Charities can arrange adoptions all they want, they just can’t get taxpayer money for it anymore.

    Might want to keep this kind of misinformation to your followers on facebook and twitter, folks here are a little sharper.

  11. - Brian - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    Already received 2 robocalls today @ home trying to spread FUD on this whole issue.

    I was hoping for at least a year before the political phone activity fired up again.

  12. - Just Me - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 12:31 pm:

    Why on earth would anyone use a bill in its original chamber right now for anything, let alone a highly controversial bill?!?! AND STILL ON FIRST READING?!?!

  13. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    === Why on earth would anyone use a bill in its original chamber right now for anything, let alone a highly controversial bill?!?! AND STILL ON FIRST READING?!?!===

    Me thinks some poor, exhausted staffer made an accidental, mistaken selection. It happens.

  14. - Just Me - Thursday, Jan 3, 13 @ 4:54 pm:

    So, even if whoever picked this bill number didn’t think the posting requirement would be a problem in the Senate, how did they think they would overcome the same problem in the House?

    No wonder our State is such a mess. No excuse.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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