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Question of the day

Friday, Apr 28, 2006

Do you think we need a constitutional amendment in Illinois banning gay marriage? Why or why not?

Background here and here.

Bonus question: If the anti-gay rights people do get this on the ballot in November, how will it impact the governor’s race and downballot races?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 7:23 am:

    No. Typically, constitutional provisions are intended to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. A ban on gay marriage seems more intended to protect a current (possible) majority from a future in which they may no longer be in the majority. I have never received an adequate answer to the question - how is my heterosexual marriage threatened by someone else’s homosexual marriage; nonetheless, this proposal is often dubbed “protection of marriage”. The whole thing reeks of meanness.

  2. - Beowulf - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 7:25 am:

    Sorry, but this is as necessary as a law banning marriage between humans and cows or oak trees. It is a continuation of the “dumb down” phenomina that is all so pervasive in our state (and nation). What we need is a law imposing term limits so we could get rid of the spineless politicians that have “found a home for life” in our government by simply not taking a stand on any issue. To be assured of continued personal enrichment and gain, they simply pander to all groups and tell all individuals and groups “anything that they would like to hear.”

    Term limits may not be the answer but it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

  3. - ZC - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 8:02 am:

    No. A) Although gays should not have a constitutional right to marry, they _ought_ to be able to wed, as a matter of policy; this amendment is the modern equivalent of the old anti-miscegenation laws. And I’m sorry to whomever that offends, but on this point, you need to be offended. B) It’s unnecessary. The legislature has shown zero interest in legalizing gay marriage, and the government is top-down controlled by Democrats. C) It’s quite possibly on the wrong side of history. While there is no social groundswell for legalizing gay marriage today, the kids seem a lot more tolerant (and correct) on this issue than their parents and grandparents, and so 10, 15, 20 years down the line we may well see a new generation that does want to legalize gay marriage. If so, that is the proper way to bring about social change, through generational replacement and the changing values and beliefs of the electorate. Throwing up a constitutional amendment now would be about as long-term effective as a stop sign in the middle of a flood.

    In terms of how it affects the 2006 elections, it probably helps the Republicans short-term. It would help bring out the base in a midterm where they probably are thinking about staying home. But it would also help brand the Republicans among Illinois’s next generation as the intolerant party, and do some long-term damage to their goal of recapturing a statewide majority. Why do you think the Republicans at the nationwide level dropped all plans for a constitutional amendment as soon as 2004 was over? They knew it was a long-term loser.

  4. - the polish - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 8:13 am:

    Yes, for the obvious reason. Marriage is between a man and a woman. I think Illinois should allow civil unions in order to receive all the benefits of marriage.

  5. - Lee - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 8:14 am:

    YES Marriage is between a man and a woman. Without a proper defintion on marriage, there would be no legal reason for a man to marry his sister or a woman to marry her father. Civil unions should be the alternative to marriage. This amendment will help the Republicans in this elelction and long term will have no real negative impact.

  6. - Ragin RINO - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 8:51 am:

    Absolutely NOT. Why should two gay men/women be prohibited from getting married and told how to live by a society with a 50% divorce rate? Enough already, live and let live.

  7. - Gish - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 8:53 am:

    Marriage as a religious ceremony should be defined by the specific churches and religious groups. Marriage as a government recognized union with legal ramifications should be open to all consenting people of age unless there are overreaching reasons not to allow it.

    Marriage between two people of the same sex should be allowed without restrictions by the government and with restrictions by specific religious groups.

  8. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 8:54 am:


    The logic is quite simple.

    The overwhelming majority of Illinois (and U.S.)citizens favor restricting marriage to a union between one man and one woman.

    There have arisen theories of constitutional law that conclude that the equal protection clause of our constitution (state and federal) require the recognition of the “right” of gay people to marry one another. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has employed such a theory and mandated gay marriage in Massachusetts. Once a supreme court rules that a constitutional provision has such a scope, any state legislation to the contrary is ineffective. That is why the current Illinois law prohibiting gay marriage is limited in effectiveness; our Supreme Court could invalidate such a law on equal protection grounds, under the reasoning referred to above.

    The only protection against a liberal judiciary expanding the scope of equal protection to cover gay marriage is through the enactment of a constitutional amendment, which would prohibit such an interpretation by the supreme court.

    Thus, because the preference of the people of the State of Illinois is to maintain one man/one woman marriage, a constitutional amendment should be adopted to ensure the continuation of that preference given the risk of judicial intervention.

    Gay marriage advocates, get back to us when you have a substantial majority in favor of your position.

  9. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:09 am:

    Conservative Republican - why not wait until this theoretical Supreme Court reaches this theoretical decision. At that time, if a majority opposes it, the ban will be easy to pass. If not, it won’t. Why do it now (except to try to tie the hands of future VOTERS, not future courts).

  10. - Skeeter - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:24 am:

    I find this whole debate pretty funny.

    Our State and Fed budgets are swimming in red ink.

    Our President, Gov., and my Mayor are all under legal scrutiny and may face impeachment/indictment.

    Our schools are not producing enough engineers to keep with India or China.

    Gas prices are through the roof, and yet people continue to demand big SUVs.

    And the answer of the right wing extremists: “If only we could get those gays to stop marrying.”

    I’m too busy worrying about my own marriage to even have time to think about somebody else’s. Let’s solve the problems of the budget, corruption, gas prices, and worldwide economic competitiveness and then we can worry about who is granted a license to marry.

  11. - zatoichi - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:29 am:

    What would banning gay marriage achieve? I cannot think of a single thing. Save the sanctity of marriage? If marriage is so important and defining why do people still have affairs, a 50% divorce rate, and hurt each other? If two adults want to commit to each other, maintain legal rights for each other and can live together in a good relationship what business is it of mine or yours? Let the religious zealots preach all the Bible quotations they want about ruining the family. None of that came from Jesus. One-issue candidates are terrible choices in any situations when the options are many.

  12. - Lovie's Leather - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:46 am:

    I don’t really care. I guess I am the type of person that favors “civil unions” simply because I believe the definition of marriage is one man and one woman. I would probably be more open to the idea except for one reason: the attitude of the pro-gay marriage crowd really disgusts me. They act as if homosexuality is illegal and them not being able to get married is mass murder. Hey, this is America. You can be as gay as you want… as long as you aren’t in my house…. So quit whining and live your life the way you choose.

    (A note for those who say: “We don’t have hospital visitation rights, etc.” It is called a contract. Get one written up and you are basically married. Because to the government, marriage is just a glorified contract. The only thing is that with the contract, you don’t have to pay the marriage penalty….)

  13. - Gish - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:58 am:

    Lovie’s Leather-

    You do realize that some states still have laws on the books making homosexual sex illegal. Texas had its own issues when it decided to go ahead and prosecute a homosexual for engaging in those activities in his own house.

    Don’t try and belittle the actual argument. Do some activists exaggerate the situation? Probably. Many vocal activists do in whatever their cause.

    This isn’t about forcing churches to perform marriage ceremonies against their beliefs. It is about equal benefits given by the government.

  14. - Cal Skinner - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:14 am:

    There is a just out study about the percentage of those elgible who get married once such a law is passed. I quote some of the percentages at the bottom of a post on the Illinois Family Institute’s having reached the minimum number of signatures required to put its Protect Marriage advisory referendum on the ballot. There is a link to the source, as well. If that is not adequate, email me and I’ll tell you where to ask for a pdf copy.

    Earlier this week I posted part of a press release from State Senator Bill Brady in which he claimed there are enough votes to put such a constitutional amendment on the ballot in the House and the Senate, but that Democratic Party leaders will not allow a vote.

    So, it seems that the referendum is designed to put pressure on the House Speaker and Senate President.

  15. - steve schnorf - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:25 am:

    Absolutely, Skeeter! Like Roman Emperors of the past, those who focus on issues such as this are attempting to divert us from the real problems facing our citizens and our state. At least for the far right of my Republican party, I think it is because they have no positive answers for the larger questions.

  16. - Straight but no straightjacket required - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:30 am:

    I’m with Skeeter. With all the problems in our state, why would anyone base their vote solely on the candidates position on gay marriage/union (since we heterosexuals do such a great job of making marriage work!).
    Your church can represent your views and marry whomever they wish and exclude whomever they wish. Everyone has the right to the pursuit of happiness and for some, happiness is found ONLY with someone of the same sex.

  17. - UPSTATE - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:44 am:

    Conservative Republican: The majority of people do NOT support an amendment banning gay marriage. Even if they did, does this mean it should become law? We have a constiution that protects rights, and more important, equality, to all people under law, not dependent on “majority” opinion.

    I know there are arrogant people who think they have a right to tell others how to live their lives but that is not how this country runs. But the good news is that there still are some communist nations you can go live in if you feel obligated to live with extreme government control.

  18. - Little Egypt - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:45 am:

    Let’s not the divorce rate into this argument. Instead provide statistics that a gay civil union lasts longer than a heterosexual marriage. It doesn’t. Gays “divorce” just the same as heterosexuals do. Going into a relationship and vowing to love till death do you part doesn’t give a gay relationship a contract for life anymore than it does a hetero relationship. I’m for civil unions for gays in order to give legal standing to the relationship and benefits. Don’t even try to call it a marriage, which has a husband and a wife.

  19. - THE HANKSTER - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:51 am:

    Ill go one step further, I dont think tall and short people should be allowed to get married. Same with fat and skinny people, black and white people, Asian and Hispanic people, and certainly never a right handed person to a left handed person, that would be the end of our nation!

  20. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:54 am:

    The proposed Referendum to appear on the November ballot is ADVISORY - it’s non-binding on the legislature.

    Let the people of Illinois weigh-in and we’ll find out what they really think. Let’s see what happens. Let’s have an intelligent debate on the subject this year. That’s healthy. Letting every voter have their say is a lot more meaningful and productive than two-bit observations on a blog by a tiny few.

  21. - REALITYVILLE - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:56 am:

    Remember when republicans did not want government interference in our lives? Those were the good ol’ days. Any of you left or am I the only one?


    It is also a joke that people are opposed to it because they dont want it called ‘marriage’. What a rediculous thing to argue.

  22. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 11:28 am:

    All of the people in this discussion slamming the idea of a non-binding advisory referendum, and a ban on gay marriage, please note: It was “moderate” Jim Edgar who signed into law the current Illinois statutory ban on gay marriage.

    Also, “moderate” Judy Topinka has frequently and recently said she opposes gay marriage, although she doesn’t want the amendment.

    A constitutional amendment just recognizes that laws can easily be changed or overturned. It’s what 19 other states have already recognized after the Mass. ct decision.

    The point is, you can’t slam referendum advocates without slamming advocates of a statutory ban. There’s really no substantive distinction between the two on the level of limiting the definition of marriage to its historic meaning.

  23. - Anon - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 11:56 am:

    Gay marriage is not popular in Illinois
    look at other states referendums
    and polls

  24. - rmwstanford - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 12:03 pm:

    I am not a particular inclided to support gay marriage, but with all of the problems facing our state right now, its kind of an embarrassment that this is even issues. Lets focus on cleaning houses and fixing the state finanical problems first and then we can deal with gay marriage one way or the other.

  25. - THE HANKSTER - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 12:45 pm:

    Treating African Americans with equal rights was not popular for a long time either. Politically I guess it matters, but in terms of civil and constitutional rights it does not matter.

  26. - yougotta-be-kidding-me - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 1:44 pm:

    Marriage is between a man and a woman - period. This is so remedial that we SHOULD NOT need an ammendment, but apparently some people do not understand this.

    Can two men produce a baby without a woman - NO.
    Can two woman produce a baby without a man - NO.

    Women are unbelievably nurturing. They are created with wonderful mothering instincts that men just do not have (on a whole).

    Men are not created with these instincts, yet are much more gifted at discipline (on a whole).

    Two women raising a boy would have the boy quite disfunctional. Two men raising a boy would screw the kid up beyond repair! There is a reason why God created the reproductive cycle to include ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN.

    Why do we try so hard to mess everything up - even the simple things?

  27. - UPSTATE - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 2:02 pm:

    yougotta-be-kidding-me: First off, based on your theory, if a woman can not have or wants children she should not get married because, according to you, thats the point of marriage.

    Second, there is nothing that proves your claim that children of same sex parents have “screwed” up children. Thats just the truth for you.

    But I do want to thank you for telling us all why God does what he does. Where would we be without someone like you letting us know how God wants us to live. But seriosuly, you have no more claim to the truth than anyone else so stop acting like you do.

  28. - Skeeter - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 2:34 pm:

    You gotta be kidding me. What’s with the anger on this issue — period.

    Why should people not capable of reproduction be allowed to marry but gays not be able to marry — period.

    Why do you claim to speak for God — period.

    Incidently, do you get a sense of how stupid you look when you end a phrase with — period?

  29. - Bluefish - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 2:44 pm:

    I’m all for a “Protect Marriage” amendment as long as it outlaws divorce and adultery, makes abandoning one’s family a crime punishable by life in prison at hard labor, and forces a guy who gets a woman (or girl) pregnant to marry her for life. That would protect the “sanctity” of marriage. What does banning gay marriage have to do with “protecting marriage” anyway? Marriage is not under threat from gay people…the real threat is from hypocritical politicians who live in glass houses throwing stones.

  30. - Anon sequitur - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 2:49 pm:

    A politically smart (or correct) Republican should offer an amendment to the proposal that would also ban divorce for any marriage between a man and a woman. He or she would preserve their conservative credentials while guaranteeing the proposal would die a quick and merciful death.

  31. - Skeeter - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 2:58 pm:

    Anon seq,

    You raise an interesting point, but overlooked one key detail. We are dealing with the ILGOP. These people thought that Alan Keyes was a good idea. Politically smart? Not in that party.

  32. - Ragin RINO - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:00 pm:

    You gotta be kidding me…can two straight parents abuse a child — YES

    Can two straight parents kill a child — YES

    But God forbid, let’s not let two gay parents raise a child!

    You are ignorant…PERIOD

  33. - bi polar - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:22 pm:

    You gotta be kidding me does have a lot of anger, a fine byproduct of straight parents I’m sure.

  34. - Lakeview voter - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:30 pm:

    While I have no doubt that this great state that I love will refrain from embracing the hate of the far right, I still am perplexed that there are people in Illinois who are so afraid of gays and lesbians that they want to enshrine hate into the constitution.

    I am approaching my 30s, and if, god willing, I find the man of my dreams, I want to be able to enter into a relationship that is recognized by my neighbors, friends, and the government of the state to which I have paid my taxes for my entire life. Call it marriage, call it a civil union, call it whatever you want. But as long as no legal recognition exists, you can’t tell me that I am not a second class citizen in my home state.

  35. - Confused logic - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:34 pm:

    Can anyone actually articulate what the difference between marriage and civil unions is? To me all of you that are in that “they can’t marry but they can have civil unions” are just playing word games. This is not an issue for the government. Yes they should be afforded the same benifits as all other citizens of this country.

    If the churches do not want to sanction it thats up to them. Also don’t play the “they’ll raise children wrong” card because every day I turn on the news and see another child killed /abused by their heterosexual parents. That logic only makes you look stupid.

  36. - Phil - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:41 pm:

    I’m a right-wing Repub, fundamental christian, military, and hetero and married 20+ years, but I can’t figure out why some of my friends think they need the State’s sanction on any marriage. Church approval used to be good enough. The social stigma of an unrecognized church marriage used to be enough to identify unapproved behavior.

    I guess if you think State approval means anything, or carries some sort of moral approval, then you welcome these political battles.

    But if you are convinced of the idea that marriage is the domain of the State, you have to ask this question: Is marriage, the most personal and intimate relationship among individuals, an appropriate topic for Constitutional law?

    This makes about as much sense as putting a marriage amendment in the Feral Constitution.

  37. - Chicago Jason - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:43 pm:

    This isn’t an abstract issue for me; it’s my life. And it is a very bizarre experience to watch total strangers argue over the way one should or should not be allowed to live one’s life. Especially over and over and over again. Just let me and other gays and lesbians live our lives in peace, and stop using us as electoral bludgeons. I promise not to run out and wreck your straight marriage.

    Two men raising a boy would screw the kid up beyond repair!

    yougotta-be-kidding-me: Frack you! My partner and I would be better parents than a pinched, small-minded bigot like you could ever hope to be.

  38. - Joseph Grigoletti - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:46 pm:

    Each state is responsible for this issues. Liberals should be supportive to put this for a vote. They are the ones who want to abolish the electoral college. In 2000 Gore would have been elected if there wasn’t this darn Republic and we had a democracy. However, for this reason I do not support this to be put on the ballot. Leave this to the General Assembly.

  39. - blahhhhhhhhhhh - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:55 pm:

    Joseph Grigoletti: This is not a matter of public opnion, its a matter of equal rights under the law. As the Supreme Court said, seperate cannot be, by its definition, equal. Any consenting adults should be able to marry if they choose to. It is a choice that makes America great.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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