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*** UPDATED x1 *** Legislator says she’ll abide by will of her district on gay marriage

Tuesday, Mar 5, 2013

* State Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) held a town hall meeting yesterday at the behest of gay marriage proponents. Lots of protesters showed up

Emotions ran high during a townhall meeting Monday on a same-sex marriage bill now before the Illinois House.

Sponsored by state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, the meeting drew an estimated crowd of 150 people who crammed into a small room for a Q-and-A at the North Chicago Public Library. Many of those present arrived aboard a church bus that declared in big painted letters on its side: “Say no to same-sex marriage.”

* By looking at the coverage, it appears that Mayfield tried to maintain an evenhanded approach yesterday. She also announced this

Mayfield said she received more than 200 calls opposing the measure after an ad, purchased by Illinois Unites for Marriage, and urging Mayfield to vote yes on SB10, appeared March 1 in the Lake County News-Sun. Mayfield said that a survey of her constituents, taken last spring, showed 70 percent opposed to legalizing same-sex unions. She said she will vote with the majority opinion in her district.

“I made a pledge that I would always listen to constituents,” Mayfield said. “Yes, I am the representative of the 60th District, but I believe in the will of the people. It’s not about what Rita wants. It’s about what the district wants.”

There’s no sin in voting one’s district, even though legislators are “state” lawmakers. But basing important votes solely on district calls and legislative surveys is probably not a great idea. If she wants to know what’s really going on, she’ll hire a pollster.

*** UPDATE *** A poll of 401 registered voters was actually taken Feb. 21-24 of the district by Fako & Associates for Illinois Unites for Marriage, a proponent of legalized gay marriage. From the pollster

Among all voters, 41% support legalizing same-sex marriage while 43% oppose it. The opposition is centered in Republicans (77% Oppose).

A majority (54%) of Democrats in the 60th District support legalizing same-sex marriage, while 29% of Democrats oppose the proposed law. Democratic women (57% Support, 26% Oppose) are solidly in favor of the proposal, while Democratic men (49% Support, 36% Oppose) lean strongly in favor of it. Democrats under age 50 (60% Support) and those age fifty and older (52% Support) are in favor of the proposed law.

Other sub-groups in favor of the law include women (45% Support, 37% Oppose), voters under age fifty (49% Support, 37% Oppose), particularly women under fifty (53% Support), Independents (49% Support, 35% Oppose), liberals (69% Support), moderate women (45% Support, 33% Oppose), and Hispanics (46% Support, 33% Oppose). All minorities are initially divided (40% Support, 42% Oppose), as are white voters (43% Support / Oppose).

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile

Four months after ranking gay marriage as his No. 3 legislative priority in Springfield, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday turned up the heat on state lawmakers in an effort to put the bill over the top in the Illinois House.

In an email to the vast network of supporters he created during the mayoral campaign, Emanuel created a vehicle for gay marriage proponents to pressure their state representatives with the click of a mouse.

Emanuel is asking people to click here.

* And the Illinois Family Institute is asking its supporters to click here and oppose gay marriage. They’re also asking supporters to request that their churches share this flier with their congregations.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    “..survey of her constituents.” I wonder how many people outside of a few certain churches were on that survey. I surely never saw or heard of it.

    I live and work in Waukegan. Acceptance of gays and tolerance for their unions is not disapproved with most of the younger generation. If Mayfield believes 70% of all constituents (or even a majority) are against this, I’ll eat her hat.

  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    Mayfield’s position is a copout. You’re elected to make tough calls, not check the way the wind is blowing.

  3. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:48 pm:

    The Love Vote, sung by Jack Jones, enhanced by VanillaMan

    Illinois - is completely snafu,
    Come aboard, watch our state lose!
    Power is, politics’ sweetest reward,
    They’ll pander and kiss, and break a taboo!

    The Love Vote, maybe voters will forget,
    The Love Vote, how massively we’re in debt.
    So just divorce from the Scriptures
    Sell off state assets and fixtures - then hope!

    That S&P, won’t hurt anymore
    Or that all of our jobs, won’t go offshore!

    The Fiscal Mess, quickly accrues
    So come aboard, Illinois’ gay cruise!
    Marriage is, life’s sweetest reward,
    It no longer matters, what gender you choose!

    The Love Vote, promises a new Valentine,
    The Love Vote, is flash bulbs at Frankenstein.
    We’re on a course of debenture,
    And fiscal misadventure - but hey!

    In Illinois, we won’t judge anymore
    At the one who smiles, at your backdoor!
    It’s love
    Welcome aboard to going down!
    It’s love

  4. - Esquire - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Money talks. Big money talks louder.

    I did not get an opportunity to read the March 4th copy of the Sun-Times until late last night. Lynn Sweet included a paragraph about President Obama’s top donors and bundlers (in the column, Sweet suggested that the Obama Presidential Library ought to be based in Chicago rather than Hawaii according to where the campaign donors were based). In terms of Obama’s evolving position on gay rights and same sex marriage, it was interesting to note that his most recent conversion on the topic coincided neatly with a significant amount of major campaign contributions being made by gay activists.

    Follow the money and you will understand the sudden groundswell in favor of such legislation.

  5. - Ray Midge - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Here’s the interesting part of that poll:

    Support of legalized same-sex marriage increases to 46% and opposition remains the same at 44% when informed “…current Illinois law allows for civil unions between same-sex couples, allowing them many, but not all, of the same legal rights and protections of married couples such as deciding medical care for an ailing partner and hospital visitation rights.”

  6. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    Let me respond one by one to the nonsense flier the IFI is putting out.

    Marriage - It is NOT solely about procreation. Is the IFI against couples who don’t intend to have children? Are those marriages not appropriate to the IFI?

    Family - I am gay and have children. It is highly offensive to me when people suggest that I am somehow less of a parent. A family is a family. I would think the IFI would be happy that a loving couple would want to raise a child.

    Schools - Schools will NOT be teaching about homosexuality. This is always the ridiculous red herring the anti-gay folks bring up in the discussion.

    Business - I believe it is already against the law to discriminate against somebody because of their sexual orientation. As for Catholic Charities, that argument is bogus. They are not being forced to provide adoption services to same-sex couples. They simply can’t receive state funding.

    Issuing Licenses - County Clerks have an obligation to follow the law. If they are unable to follow the law then they should resign their office.

    I’m getting sick and tired of these hate groups (and, yes, that is what the IFI is) spouting their bigoted nonsense. Furthermore, why can’t people live their own lives and stay out of the lives of others. It’s really none of your business who I love or who I marry.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    “…that a representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.”

    - Edmund Burke, a member of the British Parliament

    Lame copout.

    Might as well have an “insta-poll” button pressed in Rep. Mayfield’s Voting Mechanism… whatever the polls say for her district, that “light” goes on for the vote.

    Have a bit of a spine, say, “This is how I believe, so I am going to vote ‘no’ …”

    Then you would have some credibility.

  8. - MarginofEra - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 12:59 pm:

    Ray Midge - Good eye. Yes, those results are within the margin of error of the survey, but still, worth noting.

  9. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    - Mayfield’s position is a copout. -

    Especially at 41% to 43%. If you can’t operate with that level of risk, you don’t deserve to be making decisions.

    Also, if you can’t see which way the wind is trending on this issue, you’re blind, and you really need to decide which side of history you want to be on.

  10. - Midwest Mom - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    She can’t possibly be polling sufficiently for Waukegan. The pro-equality folks in that district need to be ringing her phone off the hook!

  11. - Former Downstater - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    If Mayfield votes no, she’ll be voting against her base of support and with the Republicans in her district. Does she think they’ll support her in the future?

    And what if the calls/letters/emails come in +/- one opinion either way? Is she going to go with the “majority?”

    On this day when we remember Dawn Clark Netsch’s courage, more legislators need to stand up and simply do what’s right.

  12. - anon - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 1:38 pm:

    Im really growing tired of legislators taking votes solely based on what their constituents want. Its another way of saying I’ll vote to get reelected, not necessarily based on what it right and just. If legislators want to just vote based on constituent calls, why not eliminate the legislature and allow governing by phone poll. I joke, but, seriously, there are so few who understand what is meant by “Profiles in Courage.” Its so disheartening.

  13. - anon - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    By the way, I’m tired of the non stop fundraising done by these legislators. To be quite honest, the calls and solicitations are a bit offensive. Its really sad when a member reviews a mental fundraising list to check your donor history before the member decides if he/she will talk/meet with you.

  14. - caveman - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 1:45 pm:

    How is it that overall do not favor gay marriage, but majority democrats and every listed subgroup support it. Only republicans oppose. Something isn’t right. What am I missing?

  15. - MarginofEra - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    Caveman - The initial ask was 41% support to 43% Oppose. The informed ask was 46% Support to 44% Opposed. I think you’re overlooking that Independent voters are included in surveys like this too.

  16. - Yossarian Lives - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    “Deliberately deprived of the opportunity to be raised by a mother and a father”? Really? Last I checked, there’s no requirement in Illinois law that a child be raised by a married couple. Letting gays marry legally won’t all of a sudden let them raise children. They’re already doing that. No one’s talking about taking kids out of homes headed by married heterosexual parents and distributing them to same-sex couples. That’s ridiculous, IFI.

  17. - thechampaignlife - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    Sounds like I’m in the minority here but I’m all for legislators voting as their constituents want. That is, after all, what a representative democracy was intended to do - have someone who can represent the interests of the district from which they were elected. I think the legislator rightfully should become informed on and advocate for certain positions with their constituents to hopefully direct voter opinion to what they believe is right and just (which extends beyond the district) but, ultimately, the collective voice should be expressed through the legislator’s vote.

  18. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    I do not think it is a cop out when members vote their district. Many can, and do, vote in opposition to their district on some issues; however, if they do it on most issues, they won’t be reelected. And, that’s the point of electing these people; they reflect the voters wishes.

    A Rep may be looking ahead and realizing that she/he will have to go against her district on other issues in this session and has decided that SSM is not going to be one of those issues.

    The tricky thing with the SSM is that voter preferences seem to be changing quickly. The risk here is not understanding where your district (and your supporters) are on SSM. In the case of Mayfield, it looks like her district has moved to a new position and she better check her polls before she votes “No.”

    I think a lot of Reps better double check before voting “No.”

  19. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    –Follow the money and you will understand the sudden groundswell in favor of such legislation.–

    Gee whiz, where do I get mine?

    Once again, I take a position and don’t get a dime for it.

    By the way, Deep Throat said “follow the money” in the movie “All the President’s Men,” but not in the book.

  20. - TooManyJens - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:03 pm:

    This seems like a relevant link to drop in this thread:

    “Broockman and Skovron find that legislators consistently believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. This includes Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. But conservative legislators generally overestimate the conservatism of their constituents by 20 points. “This difference is so large that nearly half of conservative politicians appear to believe that they represent a district that is more conservative on these issues than is the most conservative district in the entire country,” Broockman and Skovron write. This finding held up across a range of issues.”

  21. - Esquire - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:07 pm:


    Why would anyone give you campaign funds if you are not an elected legislator?

  22. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    Esquire - The groundswell of support in favor of SSM has nothing to do with money, it has to do with society becoming more accepting of homosexuals. That may in turn allow advocates to raise more money, but the support starts with society.

  23. - walkinfool - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    On some issues a responsible legislator should be out ahead of their constituents’ current opinions, as times change. That’s how we’ve made a lot of progress in America, especially on civil rights. That’s what our founding fathers clearly expected in our representative democracy.

  24. - thechampaignlife - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:30 pm:

    walkinfool - is it that the legislator is ahead of the constituents’ opinions or that the constituents voted for the legislator because they agreed with his or her opinions?

  25. - realtalk - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 3:31 pm:

    Ms. Mayfield should be commended for at least having the guts to have a town hall. How many other representatives have taken a firm stand against Marriage Equality without even giving their constituents an opportunity to voice their opinion. Don’t villanize someone that is at least trying to educate her constituents.

  26. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Mar 5, 13 @ 4:19 pm:

    She’d better know what her constituents want if that’s how she’s going to vote. I do not believe a majority of registered voters in her district are against SSM–it was just a majority in that room.

  27. - Parchy1 - Friday, Mar 8, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    If Abe Lincoln had taken a poll before writing the Emancipation Proclamation we would still have slaves; and if a poll determined Brown v. Board of Education, we would still have segregated schools; and if a poll determined Loving v. State of Virginia we wouldn’t have inter-racial marriage. Mayfield’s LACK of courage to DO THE RIGHT THING, will put her on the wrong side of history, and given that she was elected as a Democrat, she should listen to her heart and vote for the civil rights of ALL. History is moving fast on this issue, and it has become clear that if not now, it will be soon, across this country, and there will be politicians looking as foolish and ignorant as George Wallace standing in the door of Univ. of Alabama, trying to stop de-segration of the school. How sad.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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