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Harris, Mell talk about failure of gay marriage bill

Friday, May 31, 2013

* We have a couple of must-watch videos regarding the failure of the Illinois House to call the gay marriage bill. First up. Rep. Greg Harris explains why the bill wasn’t called. The speech was interrupted a few times by protesters favoring his bill. Watch

* Rep. Deb Mell talked about what a gay marriage law would’ve meant to her

- Posted by Rich Miller        


32 Comments
  1. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:26 pm:

    I kept hearing and reading for weeks that it was a shoe-in to pass…what happened? (SomebodyS know doubt either dropped the ball, or refused to pick it up (ala MADigan per chance??–and if so, hardly forwarding the cause of his own daughter’s alleged interest in Higher Office, perhaps even significantly DAMaging it)…!


  2. - ChicagoR - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:27 pm:

    Today is my 22nd anniversary with my partner. I thought we might get full citizenship as an anniversary present. Maybe next year.


  3. - Kee8tr - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:29 pm:

    I can’t express my disappointment the cowardice of the Illi oos House. All I can say is history will remember you.


  4. - Ken_in_Aurora - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:51 pm:

    I’m very unhappy that this didn’t pass today. I mean, c’mon - iit’s 2013, not 1953.


  5. - Ken_in_Aurora - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:52 pm:

    Oh, and happy anniversary ChicagoR - may you two have many more.


  6. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:53 pm:

    The no votes should be ashamed, how any of them could look Rep. Mell in the eye is beyond my comprehension.


  7. - Jimbo - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:53 pm:

    This is a major disappointment. I was hoping to have something to make me proud about our GA today. I don’t understand the delay. Harris said they were going to come back and vote yes. Why not do it now?


  8. - Springfield Westie - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:06 pm:

    I had tears in my eyes listening to both Reps Mell and Harris speaking. They spoke from their hearts and spoke for the thousands of people like me who share this struggle. Delayed, but not denied.


  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:07 pm:

    I think the most shameful thing is the fact that some Reps reportedly wanted to wait until Veto so they’d have a better idea of whether a primary challenge was coming. Profiles in cowardice, especially among the Dems in this group.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:29 pm:

    All I have to say, the GOP GA voted 18 against, and ONE lone “yes”…for the record.

    We have all summer to get over that to make a difference.


  11. - RichR - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:34 pm:

    @Just The Way It Is In One: If you were hearing that it was a shoe-in, then the people who dropped the ball were the ones telling you that. The news stories going back to January were that passage was by no means assured in the House. Weeks ago, the story was that the bill was about a dozen votes down. More recently, we were told that they were “close”, which some took to mean somewhere around two to three votes shy. Harris said in the video that he has the votes, but some are conditional on having a chance to explain before the veto session. If you blame Madigan, it is because you choose to do so.


  12. - K3 - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:44 pm:

    History will remember those who stood in the way today. Deeply disappointed in my rep


  13. - Downstater - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:54 pm:

    What everybody appears to be overlooking is that we a representative system of government, not a system based on public opinion. It is immaterial whether a majority of the people claim to support changing the definition of marriage. If this majority is too concentrated in a handful of districts, one cannot and should not expect it to become law. Whatever one’s passions on this question may be, the iron law of represenation and reelection must be acknowledged.


  14. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:46 pm:

    @Downstater - I’m sorry but what is this “iron law” you are talking about? Reelection is not an iron law. Politicians are actually allowed to cast votes based on principle and rather than paranoia over reelection.

    And in a state like Illinois, what is the worst thing that happens to you if you don’t get reelected because you voted for same-sex marriage? Oh no you’ll get hired by some same-sex marriage supporter in Chicago, or make more money as a lobster in Springfield or you’ll get some patronage appointment by the governor.


  15. - jake - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:46 pm:

    I am very disappointed, but it is way too easy to call an elected official who compromises his principles to keep his job a coward. Many people compromise their principles to keep their jobs, It is just that most people do it in private, while politicians do it in public. Of course legislators should do the right thing. But it is up the rest of us to work towards creating a climate where those who do the right thing are not punished for it.


  16. - Chevy owner--Ford county - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:59 pm:

    What the hell good is a Democratic Supermajority if they won’t support the most basic thing that the party supposedly stands for–equal rights?


  17. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:06 pm:

    Unfortunately 47 is exactly right. This is cowardice and craven calculation by the Black Caucus members who wanted to get to the point where petitions are being passed and time is too limited to launch a challenge.

    “I’m very disappointed” and “with the Illinois Legislature” are two concepts that go too damned well together. Throw in Quinn and we’d have it all right.

    BTW, Deb Mell’s speech was beautiful and spot-on. I’m not usually a fan, but her point is EXACTLY right. These are families no different than anyone else’s. Families with all the happiness, pain, love and hardship of hetero families. That’s why this cowardice is so damned unforgivable.


  18. - RNUG Fan - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:13 pm:

    The house seems to be a closeted republican majority -look at the endless attacks on teachers and on and on


  19. - RiverForest Dad - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:14 pm:

    I don’t know how the House Reps could sit there all day looking up at a gallery packed with families (many with children) who simply wanted their vote to be treated equal in the eyes of the law. I Actually had one Rep tell me and my daughter that we haven’t suffered as long as her community has and that civil unions were good enough for us. Our own Rep decided two days ago to have a Facebook vote on the issue to help him make a decision. My families rights are not trivial! We are broken hearted by what happened today. Both my children cried themselves to sleep tonight. So will their two Dads.


  20. - Kee8tr - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:37 pm:

    @downstater. Representative govt means those with a vote represent their constituency not their own electoral fears or personal biases. Public opinion is exactly what they are intended to reflect. Seems to me that most Illinoisans support marriage between two consenting adults.


  21. - Kee8tr - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:47 pm:

    Jake I call a spade a spade and a coward a coward. Furthermore nothing has been easy about this struggle, about this reality. Not one damned thing. Every day I chose to be who I am is an act of bravery, an act of defiance. Because truth is I could easily hide it.


  22. - springfield liberal - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:52 pm:

    i normally go with the equal protection argument when debating in favor of marriage equality, but if anyone can listen to the case made by representative mell and still disagree, i’d love to hear the talking points.


  23. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 12:25 am:

    The State Representatives who were ready to vote no, regardless of party are on the wrong side of history and will be judged so. Their acts were of cowardice and I can not wait to see the day, Reps. Harris, Cassidy, Mell, Yingling are celebrating cause they have equal rights that I enjoy and the rest of the legislature enjoys. PATHETIC!


  24. - Archiesmom - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 12:46 am:

    Illinois is on the wrong side of history and justice tonight. We can carry guns but not marry the person of our choice. Shame.


  25. - Carl Nyberg - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 12:52 am:

    I have told Rep. Marcus Evans, Jr. I will be working to defeat him.

    I have publicly call him a coward in a letter I expect to be printed in the Northwest Indiana Times.

    He was warned in advance. He chose the coward’s path.

    Being a state legislator is a pretty good gig in many ways. If you can’t take the heat for a vote, get another job.


  26. - dang - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 8:07 am:

    Ain’t politics grand? This vote, or lack thereof, is about the Governor’s primary.


  27. - 33 district voter - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 8:55 am:

    @Carl Nyberg. As a register voter in Marcus Evans district with 5 voters in my household we applaud his vote on hb183. We will be working hard to retain Rep. Evans in the next Election. So Bring it on!!!


  28. - bill - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 9:17 am:

    as the saying goes, “It will be alright in the end, if not alright, not the end.” Marriage equality will prevail in the end…in November veto. thanks rep harris, mell, and governor Quinn for help. not the speaker who could have done more but chose to not really get involved. November will be different.


  29. - Downstater - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 9:49 am:

    The “iron law” I speak of is as old as representative government in America itself. The two most important thing to an elected official is a job; the ability to get it and then to keep it. As to those who believe that the House’s inaction was cowardice, a betrayal of the Democratic party’s values, etc., one of the problems of one party government is the ability of the governing party to ignore the wishes of some electoral minorities whose support is either not needed or can be taken for granted since those in power know they would never vote for the alternative parties or candidates.


  30. - Jack - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    I am neutral on this issue. But considering that Madigan failed on this and pension reform, two of the state’s most important issues, perhaps it is time for him to retire.


  31. - John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    Yes, I am fully aware of the ridiculousness of the mere suggestion.


  32. - Anonon - Monday, Jun 3, 13 @ 5:49 pm:

    1. Mr Harris reiterated daily that the votes were there, he would call a vote before session end, and it would pass.

    2. Actually, the votes were never there, and perhaps Mr. Harris got caught up in wishful thinking to the point where he was just repeating “facts” on a daily basis that even the casual observer knew to be untrue. The critics had an obvious point when they questioned why the vote was not being called if the votes were there.

    3. His failure to honor his promise and call a vote seems inexcusable. Afraid of a loss from a defeat by vote? The loss was already catastrophic and very public. Not voting held no one accountable, and voting could have clearly illuminated the legislative landscape for the next steps ahead-if the solution can be found in the legislature rather than in the courts.

    What credibility is left after reiterating a promise every day to the last day in session that a vote would be called, and then not calling the vote?

    With regard to voting on the bill later in the year, why would anyone expect the same people who evidently promised to vote yes, and then renege, to fulfill their promise to come back and vote in the affirmative?

    So everyone applauded in exchange for their yes vote. That seemed to make everyone feel good. (note of sarcasm here!)

    I don’t know Mr. Harris, but he does impress me as someone who has a great deal of integrity who has done and is trying to do good things. I think he could have handled the issue-or at least his constituency-differently.

    But perhaps Mr. Harris and some others have a good plan and will accomplish a turnaround.
    I hope this works out legislatively, but the issue may be accomplished more efficiently in the courts.

    I’ve been hard on Mr. Harris in my comments, so I want to close with giving him “thumbs up” for his work over the (very!) long haul, and his courage to keep going. Would we have come this far without him? Probably not. I wish him all the best in what lies ahead.

    The fault lies with the spineless legislature, not with Mr. Harris.


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