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Unclear on the concept

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

* Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) in the Sun-Times

Asked if the same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue, Davis didn’t bat an eye.

“Have they ever hung from trees?” she asked. “Were they ever slaves for 500 years, then I don’t think so. I don’t think [the issues are] equal … Simple as that.”


* It wasn’t all that long ago in Illinois that gay people could be sent to prison just for having sex with their partners. If you want a look at the history of violence against gays, click here. And, then, of course, there’s this

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

There is a real reluctance among African-Americans to equate gay rights to the struggle for freedom by blacks. I get that. But there is absolutely no denying that there has been institutional prejudice against gay people in this country. OK, they weren’t slaves here, but how does that make their struggle for “civil” rights somehow unimportant?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    Rep. Davis never fails to disappoint.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:14 pm:

    ===“Have they ever hung from trees?”===


    Use the “Search” key…nothing more needs to be said.

  3. - Peoria Pete - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:14 pm:

    -“Have they ever hung from trees?” she asked.-

    Guess she never heard of Matthew Shepard?

  4. - Shore - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    2 words for rep davis- matthew shepard.

    nuf said.

  5. - phocion - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    And the winner of “Who’s the Biggest Victim” award goes to…

    Seriously, does someone have to have gone through exactly the same thing to be afforded legal protection? Well said, Rich Miller.

  6. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    There are some valid points in the black community when these two issues are compared. Like… “You can’t hide that you are a black”.

    But when we talk about over the top rhetoric… 500 Years? if we go back far enough pretty much every type of people had slaves or were slaves (the Jews, Arabs, heck even in Europe there were slaves that were european). It wasnt right, but then again discrimination of any type isnt right.

    If anything, if you have been discriminated against for any reason, you should have some empathy for someone discriminated against now even if it is for a different reason.

    Personally… if gay’s want to marry, let ‘em. they can be just as happy/un-happy as the rest of us.

  7. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    Oh, and she must have missed that gays are still killed today in some countries… for being gay.

  8. - Shore - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    the correct way for the african american community to handle this is the way the jewish community handles comparisons of bosnia and cambodia to the holocaust which is to condemn the genocide but recognize that every situation is different.

  9. - Wensicia - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    I think this attitude that African-American descendents of slaves are the only people entitled to claim “civil rights” is over the top. I think those using this excuse to deny their bigotry of gay marriage to be little better than bottom feeders.

  10. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    Has Davis paid the bill on her office rent yet?

    I’m sorry, but that’s one of the first things I think of every time she opens her mouth.

    For someone who cares soooooo much about the state and our public good and all.

  11. - Amalia - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    same thing with women’s rights, they just don’t get it. civil rights is not confined to issues for African Americans.

  12. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:32 pm:

    Does ‘Nique not recall this is a Bible that was pro slave and not real keen on a lot of rights for chicks?

    Putting al that aside let’s remembers we are trying to expand IL law not amend the Bible.

    Here is the operative part of the IL Constitution

    All persons shall have the right to be free from
    discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national
    ancestry and sex in the hiring and promotion practices of any
    employer or in the sale or rental of property.
    These rights are enforceable without action by the
    General Assembly, but the General Assembly by law may
    establish reasonable exemptions relating to these rights and
    provide additional remedies for their violation.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

    Many believe this is a time to check those religious beliefs.

  13. - In_The_Middle - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    In memory of Mathew Shepard

  14. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    Disgraceful comment by Rep. Davis. Plain and simple.

  15. - dazed & confused - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    Rep. Davis is despicable. Years ago in Education Committee, she called Dr. Arnold Weber, then president of Northwestern University, “Dr Bagel” because he was Jewish. Discrimination has no place in any debate.

  16. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    I’m glad she doesn’t represent me,in any way.

  17. - Downstater - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    I agree with the substance of Representative Davis’ comments if not their style. There is a qualitative difference between the plights of African Americans and members of the GLBTQ community. The civil rights’ claims of the former were backed by some clear constitutional basis. What’s more, there are significant religious liberty and domestic policy implications to much the GLBTQ’s agenda that could prove detrimental to the rights of the wider community.

  18. - Namaste - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:12 pm:

    I’ve heard Rep. Davis and Rep. Flowers make comments to the effect of “Rev. King didn’t march to help mexicans,” so this doesn’t surprise me.

  19. - "Edge" - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    Downstater, I have one word for you “Faith”; are all faith’s equal in your wider community?

  20. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    –The civil rights’ claims of the former were backed by some clear constitutional basis.–

    The civil rights violations of black slaves were embedded in the Constitution until 1965. And of free blacks by the Dred Scott decision. And by state and federal laws and supportive Supreme Court rulings for a very long time after that.

    Discrimination had the law on its side — until the people insisted on change. That’s what’s happening now in regards to gay marriage.

  21. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    Nobody is going to expect your church to start hosting same sex weddings Downstater. You can even keep on hating people in the name of your deity. We just want the state of Illinois to stop discriminating against our fellow residents in our name.

  22. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:26 pm:

    I was testifying at a hearing once and Rep. Davis asked the obligitory question about our minority hiring stats. When we began to answer and included latinos, asians, etc. in our answer she immediate cut us off and thundered that she asked about minorities - African Americans - and not those “others.” She doesn’t really strike me as somebody who has an appreciation for any group other than African Americans when it comes to discrimination.

  23. - Stooges - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    I didn’t realize Columbus brought slaves with him when he came over in 1492. How were they slaves for 500 years? Don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant.

  24. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    ==there are significant religious liberty . . . implications==

    What would those be? If you are religious and gay people and gay marriage offend those beliefs then anything that goes against those beliefs violates your religious liberty? Give me a break. I’m tired of that bogus argument. If religious people don’t like it, fine. Don’t hold a ceremony in your churches. Don’t recognize those marriages. Heck, even tell those people they are not welcome in your churches. But stop using your religion as some defense by saying that allowing SSM violates your rights. Bull.

  25. - Willie Stark - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:30 pm:

    Beyond the later day crucifixion of Matthew Shepard, for that’s what that horrible crime was, a crucifixion (for those who prefer to look at this particular issue in the biblical context) to this terrible roll of the martyred we can add the name Mark Carson, who was shot in the face just last weekend in Greenwich Village a short distance from the Stonewall Inn where the modern gay rights movement began in 1969. These are crimes against humanity every bit as much are those atrocities perpetrated against African Americans for all of our country’s history right down to the present day. As Rich has said on multiple occasions, those opposed to extending the full and equal protection of our laws to our LGBT brothers and sisters are as surely on the wrong side of history as was Bull Connor and his ilk when they turned on the fire hoses and turned lose the dogs in Birmingham in 1963. Connor was born in 1897, well within living memory of the “glory” of the confederacy, had poor schooling, and never graduated high school. He was an ignorant and fearful man. What excuses do we, in the second decade of the 21st century, have to not know better and to refuse to learn from our own history?

  26. - Calhoun Native - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    @Downstater 1:10 pm

    That’s the same sort of argument used against the civil rights movement in the 60s. Let’s see your list of things that “could prove detrimental to the rights of the wider community.”

  27. - Anon - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    Stooges, not that your point matters, but the first black slaves came to North America in 1619, so almost 400 years. Can’t blame the Rep for rounding up.

  28. - Paul Richardson - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    I suppose we shouldn’t expect much empathy from this representative…

    Circa 2008:

    Davis: “I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous–”

    Sherman: “What’s dangerous, ma’am?”

    Davis: “It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! […]”

    Davis: “You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

  29. - Anon in Springfield - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    What does she have to say to LGBT people of color? What a loser.

  30. - downstate commissioner - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    Please let it be clear that “Downstater” is NOT downstate commissioner. If gays want to get married, let them….

  31. - Draznnl - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:45 pm:

    Wow! I never would have believed that Monique Davis opposed equality for women, but given the test she sets out, she’s right there with Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum.

  32. - HenryVK - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    The interesting thing here is that the GOP is being given a great opportunity and so far has screwed it up.

    If the GOP would start valuing freedom, a lot of people would be pretty happy rejecting the Dems.

  33. - In 630 - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    So, equality only for those groups subjected to just the right amount of oppression and violence over the generations. Got it. Thanks Rep. Davis for clearing that up.

  34. - dupage dan - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    From personal experience I can say that Rep Davis is one truly rude and ignorant person.

  35. - Amalia - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    Rep. Davis, there are thousands of women and children enslaved in Africa right now. what are you doing about that?

  36. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    Gays have been attacked and killed for being gay, so I’m not sure what she’s talking about. It’s not about the arrogance of suffering, which group suffered the most.

    Gays were enslaved, in a sense, because they couldn’t be themselves and had to hide.

  37. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    === Years ago in Education Committee, she called Dr. Arnold Weber, then president of Northwestern University, “Dr Bagel” because he was Jewish. ===

    Wth? Seriously?

  38. - Skeptic - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    Maybe we should all chip in and buy Rep. Davis a pair of tickets to “The Laramie Project.”

  39. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    I was the command duty officer of USS St. Louis (LKA-116) the day Allen Schindler of Chicago Heights was killed in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan.

    I was called in the middle of the night and informed of the killing of a sailor assigned to USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) in a public park that was between the Navy base and the city (bars). I was told to be on the quarterdeck with the officer of the deck to watch for any sailors returning with blood on their clothing. Fortunately, no sailors from the Lou were involved.

    Later I learned Schindler was killed for being gay. My roommate from Texas A&M and the ship’s legal officer guessed he was killed for being gay before the rumor hit.

    I was horrified that someone would be killed for being gay. Or that anybody would remotely think that was reasonable.

    I didn’t support the ban of gays in the military, but I hadn’t put much thought into the consequences of the policy.

    When government says it’s ok to discriminate against people based on who they are, government is sending a message. This message is that it’s ok to persecute people from those outcast groups.

    I am going to use my voice to speak against policies that discriminate.

    Rep. Monique Davis, there have been people killed for being gay. If you don’t want to call it a “civil rights” issue, fine. Just vote the right way.

  40. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:46 pm:

    No one’s equating the two issues. But meanwhile, Rep. Davis is apparently unaware of this case:

  41. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    Great screen name Roland!

  42. - SOB Van Owen - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 3:12 pm:

    –Great screen name Roland!–

    Talkin’ about the man?

  43. - Downstater - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 3:52 pm:

    Some are making a dangerous connection between the civil rights era’s questions (c.1945-1970) and today’s question. In the case of Jim Crow legislation, it had power on its side, never really the law. There were constitutional protections in place since 1870 that numerous communities simply failed to properly enforce. The efforts made during the 1960s principally sought to live out those clearly written and expected rights that had been denied to them by various jurisdictions. With respect to not wishing to have such unions recognized by the Church, I do not recall at any point asserting religious liberty to only pertain to Christians. What’s more, this same assertion about protecting the views of all persons will meet with a fateful test when somebody can state their opposition to changing the definition of civil marriage in a civil manner and be met with a equally civil reply.

  44. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    Her truly vile argument can be summed up in one phrase. “Justice for me and not for thee.” If ignorance were a virtue, Monique would be Sainted by now.

  45. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    I am being as civil to you and your kind as you are to our fellow residents of Illinois who only want the same rights you already have, Downstater.

  46. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:04 pm:


    You have still failed to articulate how SSM affects somebody’s religious liberty. The fact is that it doesn’t. Also, since not all share the same views about SSM then in order to protect those with opposing views SSM should not be allowed? Your arguments are without merit.

  47. - Chevy owner/Ford County - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:06 pm:

    So I don’t get it…is she annoyed by the method employed by gay bashers when they murder gays? Instead of shooting us (as was done to Mark Cason in New York this week); beating us with a nail- studded board and then gutting us (as was done to Paul Broussard in Houston in 1991); tied to a fence, beaten and left for dead (as was done to Matthew Sheppard in Laramie, WY in 1998); beaten to death with a fire extinguisher (as was done to Angie Zapata in Greeley, CO in 2008). Would she prefer that we be hung from trees and at that point she would consider it a civil rights issue? The issue with her narrow little mind isn’t the killing of gay people or African Americans…it is the method in which it is done.

  48. - ChicagoR - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:20 pm:

    “There were constitutional protections in place since 1870 that numerous communities simply failed to properly enforce. ”

    That’s the same thing going on here. We’re just trying to get the “equal protection of the laws” promise to be carried out in practice.

  49. - Downstater - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:42 pm:

    What rights exactly are you speaking of, Chavez-respecting Obamist? To marry? It has always been understood that civil marriage has historically been a civil privilege, not a right. The state’s long-standing role has been to create a legal framework for the state to channel the biological connections between mothers and fathers and their children (e.g. inheritance claims). If one changes the definition of civil marriage to allow for additional possible combination of persons, its ability to serve as that channel for managing primogeniture in inheritance cases for example is greatly diminished. As much as there is this urge to believe history and tradition cannot and should not inform us as to how we organize and govern ourselves is to deny the informative value of how tradition is a bulwark for legal authority and protection of our civil rights and how habits are things that make us human.

  50. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:47 pm:

    Wow Downstater. That’s an awful lot of words you used to justify allowing the state to continue to discriminate against people who want to get married.

  51. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:49 pm:

    “its ability to serve as that channel for managing primogeniture in inheritance cases for example is greatly diminished.” Somehow I don’t remember that concept being present when I proposed to the person I loved or when we got married. Frankly, it’s a giant load of crap.

  52. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:55 pm:

    Monique Davis is a perfect example of why you should never let facts get in the way of your opinion.

  53. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:58 pm:

    Monique once informed me, in an open meeting, that “Hispanics ain’t minorities.” Awful person.

  54. - Chevy owner/Ford County - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 5:16 pm:

    Downstater, you might want to read the majority opinion in Loving v. Virginia before you go off saying the civil marriage is not a civil right. Furthermore, the ability to procreate has never been a prerequisite for civil marriage. Actually the relevant quote from the opinion is “marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man” not the namby-pamby “civil privilege” crap you are peddling.

  55. - Downstater - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 5:48 pm:

    In Loving, the question was whether persons of different racial backgrounds could merry in a jurisdiction where such unions could not be legally solemnized, there was no question as to whether persons of the same sex could enter into such relationships. It is also true that the state can determine many of the bounds for who can enter into such relationships such as establishing that persons of close family connections cannot be joined together. There is something to be said for the way things are arranged beyond empty prejudice and an unwillingness to live with change.

  56. - HenryVK - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 5:51 pm:

    Why do you care so much about the issue?
    I just can’t figure out why somebody else getting married should impact me at all.
    Yet it matters to you.
    I don’t get it.

  57. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 5:58 pm:

    Looks like you can chalk another one up in the “No” Column here, ‘cuz it sure looks like NObody’s going to change HER mind, once she makes her views known!!!

  58. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 6:04 pm:

    “There is something to be said for the way things are arranged beyond empty prejudice and an unwillingness to live with change.” What the hell does that mean?

  59. - Just Facts - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 7:18 pm:

    Here’s another 4 words for the ignorant Rep Davis: Zyklon B. Pink triangles. look it up. Our holocaust trumps your lynching. If you want to reduce barbarism with your logic

  60. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 8:00 pm:

    –Some are making a dangerous connection between the civil rights era’s questions (c.1945-1970) and today’s question. In the case of Jim Crow legislation, it had power on its side, never really the law–

    I’m still rolling that one around in my head. What in the world are you talking about?

    Jim Crow laws were laws — local, state and federal laws passed by legislatures, enforced by executives, and upheld by courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

    And what’s with the “Civil Rights Era, 1945-1970?” How did you choose those start and stop dates? I’m at a loss.

  61. - One to the Dome - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 8:23 pm:

    Not too much of a fan of Davis, but would love to do an un-scientific experiment on which group would find it more difficult to hail a taxi.

  62. - Justin - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 9:21 pm:

    Monique Davis is a vile woman. She is a little person with a littler heart who thinks she’s a queen because, despite this, she managed to land a perch in the Illinois state house.

  63. - Desperado Under the Eaves - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 9:49 pm:

    She may not represent you, but one has to ask why Mike Madigan cannot recruit a credible Democratic candidate to challenge Davis in a primary? He has worked to oust other Democrats who have done less to embarrass the party or displease him personally.

    Monique Davis seldom bothers to conceal her contempt for other groups claiming “minority” status. I suspect that she is a proponent of a spoils system for preferred minorities and fears that if others are invited to the party there will be less loot for African-Americans. She does not like sharing.

    The “Dr. Bagel” story is accurate. It happened years ago when Arnold Weber was testifying in Springfield.

  64. - Quizzical - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 9:58 pm:

    A charming combination of not nice and not intelligent.

  65. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 10:50 pm:


    It’s pretty clear that Downstater is thoroughly confused and confusing. What’s not confusing is that gay people have been targeted, discriminated against and killed throughout history (and currently in places like Uganda).

    Whether citing a specific passage in the Bible to rationalize prejudice (I’m sure these folks obey every anachronistic passage) or claiming gays aren’t entitled to civil rights protections because they don’t have problems hailing a cab (that’s nice, One to the Dome), it’s still discrimination and it’s still wrong. Why is this so hard for some people to understand.

  66. - Steve Downstate - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 10:50 pm:

    Downstater, you argue that civil marriage is not a “right” but only a privilege. Fine. Let’s make it so that you and your spouse can be required to report to your local courthouse and have your “privilege” of being married in the eyes of the law revoked. After all, as you have indicated, no one has a right to be married under civil law.

    Churches have a complete right to determine whom they will and will not marry. The Catholic Church, for instance, refuses to marry a couple in which one or both partners have previous divorces without obtaining an annullment. Such is the right of the Catholic Church…and every church, according to its own set of beliefs and traditions. Civil marriage is a distinct matter, however. (I don’t imagine you’re demanding that the state disallow remarriages for divorced people, are you? Nope. Didn’t think so.)

  67. - ??? - Wednesday, May 22, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    Trib article from 1996 regarding the Davis-”Dr. Bagel” incident:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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