* Rick Pearson at the Tribune rightly points to a very real problem with passing the gay marriage bill: African-American House members…
With the measure a dozen votes or less shy of the 60 required for final approval, advocates on either side of the issue consider the 20 black House members key swing votes in the spring session.
The traditionally liberal black caucus, however, has not uniformly lined up in favor of gay marriage, even as home-state President Barack Obama switched course and backed it. Only one of the 14 House co-sponsors is black.
Some African-American lawmakers are uncomfortable with characterizations of gay rights as the latest front in the civil rights movement.
Others fear political repercussions, saying ministers opposed to same-sex marriage have warned legislators who vote for it to never come back to their churches, where politicians traditionally campaign on the final Sundays before an election.
“To be honest with you, it’s a little disheartening,” said Democratic Rep. Will Davis of Homewood, a black caucus member who has not made up his mind as he works out whether gay marriage is a moral or public policy issue.
“There are so many large-scale issues important to the black community, but you’ve never heard from them,” Davis said of the churches opposed to gay marriage. “This doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t create opportunities and, for the most part, they are silent on helping African-Americans getting job opportunities in this state. They are silent on the increasing prison population.”
* And on that same note, we have two competing press releases…
AFRICAN AMERICAN CLERGY COALITION TO MEET WITH CARDINAL FRANCIS GEORGE TO DISCUSS LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS AGAINST PENDING REDEFINITION OF MARRIAGE BILL
BISHOP TROTTER, PASTOR MEEKS AND BISHOP DAVIS TO LEAD OTHER AFRICAN AMERICAN DENOMINATIONAL LEADERS INTO MEETING WITH CARDINAL GEORGE
Friday, April 5th, 2013@ 11:30 AM (Press Conference)
Archdiocese’s Archbishop Quigley Center, 835 N. Rush St., Chicago, Illinois
Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago in his role as chairman of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and members of the newly formed African-American Clergy Coalition (AACC) will join to express opposition to redefinition of marriage legislation at a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 5, at the Archdiocese’s Archbishop Quigley Center, 835 N. Rush St.
Senate Bill 10, which changes the state’s legal definition of marriage from “between a man and a woman” to “between two persons,” has passed the Illinois Senate and is under consideration by the Illinois House. The House returns to session on Monday after a two-week spring break, while the Senate returns on Wednesday.
Cardinal George earlier this year issued a letter to parishioners on redefinition of marriage efforts, and also sent a letter with other faith leaders representing more than 1,700 faith communities to every Illinois lawmaker, urging a “no” vote on any redefinition of marriage legislation.
The African-American Clergy Coalition formed last month and announced a public relations/lobbying effort against redefinition of marriage that includes radio ads, a website, field operations and robo-calls. The Catholic Conference of Illinois supports AACC’s efforts. (africanamericanclergycoalition.org)
The following clergy are confirmed to be joining Cardinal George (in alphabetical order):
Bishop John Bryant, Presiding Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)
Pastor Byron Brazier, Senior Pastor of the Apostolic Church of Christ
Bishop Lance Davis, Senior Pastor of the New Zion Christian Fellowship Church of Dolton
Pastor Kenneth Giles, Senior Pastor of the Greater New Mount Olive Baptist Church
Pastor James Meeks, Senior Pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago
Bishop Horace Smith, Presiding bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
Pastor Steven Thurston, President of the National Baptist Convention USA
Bishop Larry Trotter, Presiding prelate of the New Century Fellowship International
African-American Clergy Urge Immediate Passage of Marriage Equality Legislation in Illinois Pastors, Faith Leaders Call on General Assembly to Act Now in Approving the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act
Who: Prominent African-American Clergy and Faith Leaders
What: Faith leaders call on Illinois General Assembly to grant equal protection to all Illinoisans and their families.
Where: Screening Room II – 3rd Floor
171 W. Randolph Street, Chicago
When: Thursday, April 4, 2013
…Adding… In other related news…
Conservative Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) — who was a chief critic of Illinois Republican Party Chair Pat Brady’s embrace of gay marriage — had a different take on U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s surprise backing of same sex marriage on Tuesday.
Oberweis said there’s enough room in the Republican tent to embrace differing beliefs.
Oberweis, who raised objections to Brady, said that was not due to the underlying issue, but because Brady on his own took a position against the party platform.
As for Kirk’s future in the party, Oberweis’ response: “Mark Kirk is a smart guy. I assume he made some political calculation that this was OK or would help him. I have no idea, I didn’t talk to him,” Oberweis said. “Mark is usually pretty careful, and pretty political. I assume that he made a calculation that he believes it helps him not hurts him.”