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Two votes shy?

Monday, May 13, 2013

* From the Chicago Phoenix

With mounting urgency, activists are calling on Speaker Michael Madigan, who rules the Democratic majority in the House, to help secure the final few votes needed to pass the bill into law. Democrats hold 71 seats, while GOP lawmakers hold 47. […]

“Madigan commands a super-majority, but is unwilling to spend political capital for gay equality,” said Bob Schwartz of the Gay Liberation Network, an LGBT rights direct action group. “As with other legislation, if Madigan wanted the marriage bill to pass, it would already be law.”

However, Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told Chicago Phoenix the bill’s chief sponsor will determine when it will be called.

Harris, has long been mum on how many votes he’s secured and his timeline for the bill, but said he is close to having secured the 60 votes required for victory. A government source among those backing the bill pegs the current count at 58.

It’s quite correct to say that if Madigan wants the bill to pass it’ll pass. He says he wants it to pass. The question now is when.

* The reported head count and Harris’ reluctance to move his bill both combine to suggest that Gov. Pat Quinn’s head count is probably off

Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday called on Illinois House members to take action on a same-sex marriage bill that’s been dormant there for more than 80 days, adding that he thinks the votes are there to send the measure to his desk. […]

“I believe a majority exists to get this bill passed through the House onto my desk so I can sign it into law.” […]

“I think, you know, it’s time to vote,” Quinn said. “We’ve waited now three months, and it’s, I think, plenty of time for people to reflect on it. And now it’s time to pass it.”

If Rep. Harris isn’t moving the bill, they don’t have the votes, for whatever reason. I think some of the people Quinn believes are “Yes” votes are actually not quite there yet. But it’ll pass if the Speaker wants it to.

* In other news, using an out of state civil rights leader and a long ago special teams football player to counter robocalls by local ministers probably won’t sway many minds, so don’t expect the new robocalls by gay marriage forces to accomplish all that much

Two pro-gay-marriage robocalls — one by a former Chicago Bears player and another by a civil rights leader — are expected to go out in the districts of Illinois House Black Caucus members on Monday, urging support for gay marriage legislation that’s still awaiting a vote in that chamber in the waning days of the session.

One of the calls features civil rights leader Julian Bond; the other, onetime Bears player Brendon Ayanbadejo. […]

Several Republicans have committed to crossing over and voting “yes,” potentially leaving the Black Caucus with critical sway over the issue. […]

In recent weeks, some members of the Black Caucus have come out in support of gay marriage, including Illinois Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago), who signed on as a co-sponsor to the pending bill.

The calls will target constituents in 17 House districts that include Dunkin’s; Monique Davis; Will Davis; Marcus Evans; Mary Flowers; LaShawn Ford; Esther Golar; Chuck Jefferson; Derrick Smith, and Art Turner, in addition to others.

OK, first of all “several Republicans” equals three: Two publicly, one privately.

Also, “some members of the Black Caucus” equals one: Rep. Dunkin.

* More

But after many African-American churches and Chicago’s Catholic Archdiocese led by Cardinal Francis George stepped up their anti-gay marriage campaigns, house members representing predominantly black districts have publicly denounced the bill.

“My constituents have let me know in no uncertain terms that they object to that legislation,” said Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago).

Representative Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) said he leaned toward voting for the bill last winter.

“But seeing as the Cardinal and different reverends coming out in opposition, I’m looking closer at it and taking a more neutral stance,” said Rita.

* Meanwhile, things got a little rough at dueling demonstrations in front of Rep. Jim Durkin’s district office….

One man who disputed IFI’s message began yelling during Americans for Truth about Homosexuality President Peter LaBarbera’s speech. The man broke one of the IFI protester’s signs before police intervened.

“Disagreement does not equal hate,” said Peter LaBarbera, in response to the man.

Smith addressed the scuffle later in the program.

“They’re the ones bullying us and intimidating Christians into silence,” he said. “I say no more.”

* But

A group of teenage boys stopped by the protest briefly and returned later with signs they scrawled on pizza boxes and the back of a guitar.

“God hates hate,” read one. “Equality above all!” said another.

That’s the future, folks.

* In contrast, here’s a sign from a rally at Rep. Stephanie Kifowit’s office…

That would be the past.

* Related…

* Illinois same-sex marriage supporters fight back on robocalls

* Hate speech or religious freedom? Debated at Chicago Heights marriage rally (video)

* Protestors on both sides of gay marriage issue rally in Aurora

* Protesters spar over marriage bill in three suburbs

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ouch - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 9:24 am:

    Thanks for pointing out how slanted Natasha Korecki’s story was.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 9:27 am:

    Quick thoughts;

    Rep. Harris ain’t no “Vote Countula”. Harris can count and I would trust his vote totals and thoughts about where the Bill stands on support, and if Harris isn’t convinced on the total, then I would lean that way too…When the Speaker is ready, and the counting of noses is done, the you will have 60, and not a moment before.

    William Jennings Bryant would be proud of all the religious protests…and those in FAVOR of SSM are now … Communists? Is this 2013 or 1983?

    Were they out of “political” ice cream at Durkin’s Office to calm everyone?

    ===OK, first of all “several Republicans” equals three: Two publicly, one privately.

    Also, “some members of the Black Caucus” equals one: Rep. Dunkin.===

    “Mom, Dad, ‘everyone’ is going!”




    “That’s it.”

    “So Michael equals ‘everyone’…”


    Sometimes “accuracy” makes MORE of a point than the “exaggeration” or “crying wolf”. Unless sounding like a “Pre-Teen” trying to get a parent to allthem to do something is your goal, then you are “spot-on”!

  3. - Dan Johnson - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 9:34 am:

    “That would be the past.”

    Very trenchant.

  4. - Knome Sane - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 9:48 am:

    I am duly impressed with the fact that “a group of teenage boys” returned with homemade signs espousing “equality for all”. The parents in Western Springs are doing something right in how they are raising their sons. Congrats.

  5. - G. Willickers - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    “They’re the ones bullying us and intimidating Christians into silence,” he said. “I say no more.”

    Robocalls. Rallies. Posters. Letters to editors. Blogs. Online comments. Press conferences. Millions spent on anti-equality PACs. Legislative action days. Phone calls, emails and letters to friends, neighbors and elected officials.

    Yep. Sure “sounds” like a whole lot of Christianist right-wingers being intimidated into “silence”.

    It’s practically deafening.


    PS - “AFTAH” (Americans for Truth About Homosexuality)?


  6. - Demoralized - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 10:02 am:


    In this day and age anybody that has a differing opinion from the conservative viewpoint is labeled a Communist.


    I don’t think it does anybody’s cause any good when some yahoo decides to get violent. That being said I have grown really tired of the whining by Christians that they are being “bullied” and “silenced.” I’ve heard their voices loud and clear on the issue. Somewhere along the line some Christians have come to believe that SSM = trampling on their rights. It’s this kind of stuff that makes me so thankful that our founders had the forsight to keep religion completely out of government.

  7. - wordslinger - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    If it’s two down now, it will pass. The pressure to put it over the top would be enormous.

    And yes, the kids are alright when it comes to social issues. Now, let’s put them to work this summer, doing anything.

  8. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    In fairness to Ms. Korecki, Webster’s defines “several” in the following way: a : more than one
    b : more than two but fewer than many . … In other words, she got it right.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    Some opponents of SSM scream that they’re being bullied, but they ignore their own views on gay people, in which gays are demeaned and made to be illegitimate, thus second-class citizens. To them homosexuality is the result of “sinful” behavior or a tolerant culture. To me they are projecting. They are blaming others for the very things they are doing.

    I agree with two views that commenters here made in the past:
    1) Gay marriage harms no one
    2) Gay marriage is none of our business, so let’s stop being voyeuristic busybodies

  10. - MrJM - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 11:00 am:

    That protester’s sign reminds me of something…


    Oh, yes! This:

    – MrJM

  11. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    Thanks, MrJM. I added your link to the post.

  12. - walkinfool - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    If Greg Harris says it’s two shy, then I believe it. Noone else has a count worth discussing.

    Madigan isn’t as powerful as people like to imagine, but he can get two more votes at this point. Just for perspective: I doubt he could add five, IMHO. Most people are pretty solidly set by now.

    Madigan’s first priority has been pensions, and he isn’t done with that. Budget probably has to be next. Then we have two very contentious issues — guns and gay marriage. What does he trade for what with whom, if it comes to direct pressure?

  13. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    I seems to recall the communists persecuted homosexuals in both China and the USSR. So, if we are equating a position on SSM to communism, it would be the opponents.

  14. - Frank - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Madigan has traditionally left his caucus alone and let them vote their district/conscience on social issues like abortion, death penalty, gay rights, etc.

    I don’t see him exerting a ton of pressure on anyone over SSM. Maybe he has a sit down with a few members who are on the fence and has the “you’ll be fine” talk with them to comfort their fears…and maybe that tips the headcount from 58 to 60. But I don’t see him really twisting the arms of the “no” votes, especially the members of the black caucus.

  15. - 47th Ward - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    ===Just for perspective: I doubt he could add five, IMHO. Most people are pretty solidly set by now.===

    If they find the two votes they need to get to 60, there will be more votes that follow. No one wants to be the 60th vote, but lots of Reps want to be 61, 62, 63, etc.

    My guess is there’s a dozen or more who are waiting to see whether this will pass before they decide which way they’re going to vote. And I’d wager most of that dozen are GOPers. If this bill can get to 60, there will be more than 3 HGOP votes for it. You can take that to the bank.

  16. - Curmudgeon - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    Remember, what people call “hate speech” is still fully protected by the First Amendment. A “hate crime”,however, is an actual pre-existing crime that was motivated or attended by certain group hatred. The penalty is enhanced, but there is no such thing as a pure “hate crime”.

  17. - Demoralized - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    ==Remember, what people call “hate speech” is still fully protected by the First Amendment.==

    Not necessarily. Depends on what is said.

  18. - Cincinnatus - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    SCOTUS ruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969 that; “The constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force, or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” There was also a reinforcing case in 1992.

  19. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 5:53 pm:

    Madigan can control the outcome, and either way, I really hope it’s at least a 64 + Majority, because this issue is just too divisive for things to settle down if it turns out 60-58.

  20. - Cutler Fan - Monday, May 13, 13 @ 7:14 pm:

    47 is right on. You need at least 62 on this vote with a built in assumption there will be some frosty feet when it hits the board

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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