* The Catholic Conference of Illinois is apparently so concerned that the civil unions bill could pass the House today that it has issued a statement offering to compromise…
The statement reiterated that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”
“Accordingly, we stand ready to work with the legislature and other agencies of state government to prevent unjust discrimination and to provide benefits to people judged by the civic authority as deserving — as long as such provision does not include the attempted redefinition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman for the sake of family,” the statement said.
*** UPDATE 1 - 9:26 am *** “That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” said Rep. Greg Harris, the sponsor of the civil unions bill, about a proposed compromise. Harris said he is “always interested in talking to everyone,” but said the Catholic Conference has not approached him yet about any possible compromise and that he hadn’t heard anything about it until he saw it on CapitolFax.com this morning. Harris promised to get back to us if he is contacted today.
*** UPDATE 2 - 10:48 am *** From Illinois Review…
House Republicans Mathias, Mulligan and Myers and Democrat Dugan are out today. The civil union proponents need the votes of Mulligan and Dugan — we may see the vote on SB 1716 delayed. May force the delay all the hot social issues today.
Proponents weren’t expecting votes from Mathias and Myers. Mulligan is on her way down. Rep. Dugan, however, is not. Rep. Harris said he would continue to push forward with a vote today. He said he’d like to have a bigger cushion, but it is what it is.
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
* But things are proceeding apace and proponents appear to be getting closer…
Supporters of civil unions for same-sex couples say they’re close to having the 60 votes needed to pass the measure in the Illinois House.
It would still need state senate approval and Governor Pat Quinn’s signature, who says the measure could help the state’s economy.
* Proponents even have a Catholic nun on their side…
Activists plan to take several dozen clergy members of various faiths to the Illinois Capitol Tuesday, when lawmakers could vote on the civil unions plan.
“We know your mothers and your teachers taught you to respect the choices people make and the primacy of their choices,” Catholic nun Donna Quinn, of Palos Heights, said in a statement.
* Opponents are obviously worried about the House’s 18 lame ducks…
David E. Smith, executive director the Illinois Family Institute, said he has heard anecdotally about some lawmakers from conservative areas who aren’t returning to office after January and appear poised to support Harris’ bill.
Chicago Cardinal Francis George also weighed in on the lame ducks…
[Cardinal George] criticized the fact that such an important measure was being considered by a lame-duck General Assembly. “More should be done to engage the people in public debate” on it, he said.
* The opposition is seriously cranking up the heat, and pointing to a pension note request that’s sparking some controversy. From Illinois Review…
While gay rights activists insist the number of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons are now at the levels of 10 percent of the American population, when asked how much legalizing same sex civil unions could cost Illinois taxpayers, the state’s budget office minimalized the projected number of LGBTs to be only one percent of the state’s population.
Using the fraction of a fraction as the projected number of LGBT state employees whose same sex partners may eventually benefit from the state workers’ pension plans, the budget office gave this report in answer to a pension note query filed by State Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill):
SB 245 from the 96th General Assembly allowed members of TRS and the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund to designate a domestic partner as a surviving spouse for purposes of survivor and death benefits (SB 245 has not advanced out of committee). Based on that legislation, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s actuary estimated that if 1% of active TRS members designate a domestic partner as a beneficiary for survivor benefits, the impact to the system would be as follows; (1) Increase in total actuarial liability = $15,750,000; (2) Increase in total annual costs = $1,838,000; (3) Increase in total annual costs as a payment of payroll = $0.02%.
The pension note focused on survivor benefits, but health care costs were not included in the estimation. The budget office said they can’t estimate the cost to Central Management Services:
* The rhetoric is also increasing…
“It’s not legitimate for the government to recognize the relationship of homosexual partners or polygamous partners or incestuous partners,” [David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute] said.
Except, if civil unions is this difficult to pass, I seriously doubt that incest and polygamy would ever be legalized.