* The Sun-Times takes a look at the gay marriage bill. Not much new here…
[Longtime gay-rights activist Rick Garcia] said perhaps the main impediment facing Illinois is the political calendar. Lawmakers seeking re-election must submit their nominating petitions Dec. 2, more than three weeks after the scheduled Nov. 7 conclusion of the fall session. That leaves time for potential candidates opposed to same-sex marriage to gather enough signatures to mount primary challenges against House members who vote for Harris’ legislation.
“That’s what the holdup is,” Garcia said.
Same-sex marriage critic Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, said opponents still appear to outnumber supporters of the legislation because of its potential impact on religious liberties and that, indeed, possible primary challenges await any “yes” votes in the House.
Gilligan acknowledged the U.S. Supreme Court decisions and the pope’s statements are now “in the mix,” but local sentiment trumps those headlines. “Legislators have to respond to their constituents in their districts, and in many legislative districts, it’s an issue that’s close.”
The Sun-Times also reported that the sponsors could amend the bill so it takes effect in June, meaning they’ll just have to find a simple majority during the veto session, rather than a super majority.
* From a press release…
Gov. Pat Quinn will open the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality on Tuesday, Oct. 22 with a welcome.
He will be followed by speakers that represent the breadth and depth of the equal marriage coalition in Illinois. All speakers will deliver a common message to Illinois legislators: A majority of Illinoisans support the freedom to marry and the time for marriage equality in Illinois is now.
LGBT organizations, families and faith leaders will be joined at the podium by national and regional coalition partners for the 90 minute rally. They include:
• Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO
• Rudy Lozano, Uniting America director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
• Jamie Frazier, senior pastor, Lighthouse Church
• Bonnie Grabenhofer, National Action vice president, National Organization for Women (NOW)
• The Rev. Mark Kiyimba, leader of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala, Uganda
• Toni Weaver, president, Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Northern Illinois Region)
• Scott Cross, Illinois Chapter lead, President Barack Obama’s “Organizing for Action”
• Brigid Leahy, director, Planned Parenthood of Illinois
* The other side will also have a Statehouse rally, of course.
* And then there’s the money problem. Back in June, Equality Illinois pledged to raise $500,000 for a grassroots and media effort to pass the marriage bill. The group’s political action committee was supposed to raise $250,000. From a June 17th Equality Illinois press release…
The organization’s political action arm, Equality Illinois Political Action Committee (EQIL PAC), has pledged the other $250,000 in order to match marriage opponents dollar-for-dollar on the political battlefield.
“We will not shy away or be outraised in fighting for our freedom,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “Everywhere candidates turn in 2014, they’ll have to be aware that the information we bring to voters and the direct action in their campaigns might be present to help or challenge them, depending on whether they believe in the right for all couples in Illinois to have equal recognition under the state’s marriage law.”
The $250,000 political action piece of the Fight Back for Marriage plan, though formidable, is a target set to directly confront an opponent of LGBT equality, the so-called National Organization for Marriage, which threatened to spend $250,000 to oppose particularly Republican legislators who supported the freedom to marry.
“We will defend those candidates who demonstrate a dedication to the freedom to marry through their votes and campaign commitments,” said Jeremy Gottschalk, chair of Equality Illinois PAC board of directors. “And we will ensure that those who stand in the way of marriage equality are held accountable to the voters. No opponents of marriage equality can be sure that their re-election campaigns will be easy next year.”
* But as my colleague David Ormsby reported this morning…
In the third quarter, Equality Illinois raised just $25,421. A day after the reporting period closed, it added another $5,000 from Chicago Cubs owner Laura Ricketts.
Despite all the anger in the immediate aftermath of the bill stalling in the House, advocates have so far failed to convert that post-session consternation into cash.
That’s absolutely horrible and inexcusable. If you want to frighten your enemies and soothe your potential allies, you’d better raise a whole lot more money than that.
Even so, many proponents remain hopeful that the marriage bill can pass during veto session.
* The Question: When do you think the gay marriage bill will pass? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.