* I’ve been saying all along that the fall veto session was probably not the time that a gay marriage bill would pass…
Asked if organizers have added numbers to their “yes” count, [Illinois Unites for Marriage Campaign Manager John Kohlhepp] said, “I believe that we can say that we have.”
But supporters face a tough fight. Those that have switched to the “yes” column have yet to make their stances public, leaving them room to back out. Additionally, the veto session falls before election filing deadlines, increasing chances that lawmakers fearful of primary challenges will balk at voting on controversial bills.
Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda, said that reality is making him cautious about forecasts for the fall.
“I’m making no predictions because after what happened in May, I’m gun shy about doing that,” Garcia said.
And Garcia suggests another challenge— organizers have yet to secure even 60 votes, he said.
Besides the petition problem, an immediate effective date would require 71 votes, and they don’t even have 60 yet.
* And the Windy City Times’ roll call is more than a little optimistic. For instance…
Dist. 20, Michael McAuliffe (R): McAuliffe voted against civil unions in 2010 and has indicated he would do the same if marriage equality were brought to a vote. “I will not support the legalization of gay marriage in Illinois,” he said in a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire. But sources indicate that McAuliffe may not be more open to a “yes” vote than others.
Dist. 41, Darlene Senger (R): Senger voted “no” on civil unions two years ago, but supporters hope that LGBT people and their allies will press her to vote yes, regardless.
Dist. 60, Rita Mayfield (D): Mayfield’s stance has frustrated LGBT organizers and sponsors of the bill, but she remains a target. She said she wants to vote “yes,” on the bill but will not. She says that her district does not support the measure and that she will vote “present” so as not to betray the will of her constituents. Mayfield’s best friend is reportedly gay.
Senger could help herself in the fall congressional campaign with a “Yes” vote, but she is facing two conservatives in the primary, so I figure a pre-primary floor vote would likely produce a “No.”
* And check out the House Democratic “targets”…
Dist. 21, Silvana Tabares (D): This journalist-turned-lawmaker is new to office. She was not endorsed by Equality Illinois last year, and sources suggest her vote has been hard to pin down.
Dist. 56, Michelle Mussman (D): Mussman stated on a Chicago Sun-Times questionnaire, “I would not support legislation permitting gay marriage. I would support legislation permitting civil unions.” But a Windy City Times reader and 56th Dist. resident said she believes Mussman supports the bill now. Mussman has not returned requests for comment.
Dist. 77, Kathleen Willis (D): Willis’ stance is not widely known, but Equality Illinois endorsed her Republican challenger Skip Saviano over her last year.
Dist. 79, Katherine Cloonen (D): The Daily Journal reported in October that Cloonen was against gay marriage.
Dist. 84, Stephanie A. Kifowit (D): Asked in Oswego Patch candidate questionnaire about same-sex marriage, Kifowit said she believes everyone should enjoy the same rights, but added, “I believe the intent behind Illinois’ recently enacted civil unions law has done just that.” She was not endorsed by Equality Illinois.
Dist. 85, Emily McAsey (D): McAsey stated in her Chicago Sun-Times candidate questionnaire that gay marriage did not appear to be a priority for voters and that her focus was on other things.
Dist. 96, Sue Scherer (D): According to the State Journal-Register, Scherer wants to give civil unions more time to “work through the system” before passing marriage.
Dist. 98, Natalie Manley (D): Manley’s views on same-sex marriage have not been widely publicized, and she dodged the question on a Patch.com candidate questionnaire. Equality Illinois did not endorse her in 2012.
Tabares is listed because the 13th Ward’s alderman will be leading her defense if she has to run in another primary. No decision had been made about what to do there the last time I checked.
On the others, it’s a district by district thing, but Madigan’s people don’t want to have to spend money that they don’t need to spend. An “OK” by the campaign shop on some of the less risky targets would go a very long way toward passing this bill.
* Mark Brown: Legislators’ foot dragging on same-sex marriage has life and death consequences