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Rep. Ford sticks his neck out

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

* This decision took some guts

State Rep. La Shawn Ford has joined the four other House Black Caucus members who publicly support same-sex marriage legislation, with the measure’s fate uncertain as a Friday deadline looms.

As you know, Ford (D-Chicago) was indicted by the feds for bank fraud. The charges seem a bit iffy and he was accompanied to the federal courts building by a large number of ministers from his district.

Many of those very same ministers oppose gay marriage, so Ford has been in a very tough spot. He could stand with the ministers on gay marriage, or break with them and risk not having that community support as his trial commences next April, after the Democratic primary.

* Rep. Ford obviously believes the gay marriage bill will pass this week or he probably wouldn’t have stuck his neck out

“I think it’ll probably get 63 or 64 [votes],” he said. “Greg Harris is a smart legislator and he understands - he counts the numbers. And he measures twice and cuts once. So, he’s going to be ready.”

I know of several other House members who want to vote for gay marriage but are afraid of a voter backlash. Ford ought to be an example for them.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - tubbfan - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    I sent my State Rep. a note back in March regarding the issue. In May she (Rep. Manley) wrote me back to say that she would be a yes vote as well. She’s not under indictment, but I also never saw her on any of the “yes” lists either. I wonder how many more reps are like her?

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    Good on Rep. Ford.

    It’s a joke that he’s facing criminal charges. No bankster has been charged and the banks themselves just paid cost-of-doing-business civil fines without admitting wrongdoing.

  3. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    There is a possible alternative that still affords equal protection - civil unions for everybody and get the state out of the sacrament business. I wonder why nobody has tried that, but I guess the ministers still wouldn’t be happy. Like everybody else these days, they would probably rather be pure losers than compromise.

  4. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    Once the vote hits the required number on the big board, I imagine at least a few legislators will jump on board. If only to be on the right side of history.

  5. - walkinfool - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 10:10 am:

    If Ford thought this had a good chance to pass without his support, he would hold back and hope to be covered by others.

    His announcement is in fact sticking his neck out to help it over the hump. Whatever else is going on, the man has a gut instinct for social justice.

  6. - Served - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    Excessively Rabid:

    “Marriage” as a legal definition has federal implications, which is what this fight is mainly about. Taking those rights away from everyone in order to avoid giving equal rights to everyone would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  7. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    The state is not in the sacrament business. I think we should do what Mexico and a lot of Europe does–make a civil ceremony mandatory and leave it up to the couple whether or not they want to go through a religious ceremony.

  8. - Dan Johnson - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    I really hope Fardon drops these charges — and that Durbin and Kirk press him to do so. This is the most blatant example of a very bad tradition we have in our state of a politician-scalp-hunting US Attorney’s Office. Settle the case or drop the charges and focus on the drug gangs and the gun violence.

  9. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 11:02 am:

    It’s not that the U.S. Attorney NID should focus on gangs and guns. The office should focus on corruption. Why do we pay taxes to the Cook County States Attorney if she can’t handle routine crime?

    However the charges against Ford don’t even alleged significant corruption. He borrowed money to fix buildings in the community. The buildings got fixed. Some of the money went for other stuff.

    Ford is being prosecuted because of being an elected official, not b/c the USANID normally prosecutes developers for doing these things.

    While Ford has significant support from Black ministers in his district, he also has significant support from people who are strongly in favor of allowing gays to marry.

    The common denominator is pretty much everyone thinks the charges are Ford are lame and the USANID should be spending its resources prosecuting crimes that negatively affect people’s lives, not crimes that pad the resumes of the prosecutors.

  10. - reformer - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    There are few profiles in courage in Springfield — in either party. I don’t see many legislators taking real political risks to do what they feel is right. So it’s refreshing to see Rep. Ford follow his conscience.

  11. - Curmudgeon - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    “Charges are iffy” ??? Have you read the indictment? If I were Rep. Ford I would make no long range plans!

  12. - reformer - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    == Ford is being prosecuted because of being an elected official, not b/c the USANID normally prosecutes developers for doing these things. ==

    Only one customer of the failed bank has been indicted by the feds. If he were just a developer, not an elected official, he wouldn’t be facing trial in federal court.

  13. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    === It’s a joke that he’s facing criminal charges. ===

    Don’t forget that part of the allegation is he used the ill-gotten gains to help bankroll his initial campaign for office.

    We are in agreement that there are much bigger fish to fry on this one. But I doubt he would have drawn the attention of the U.S. Attorney if it weren’t for their focus on public corruption, honest services, etc. and that potential tie to Ford.

    Should be interesting to see how things play out.

    And for the record? There is at least one attorney who has been disbarred this year for doing what Ford did according to the IARDC records available online. Seems a bit harsh all the way around.

  14. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, May 29, 13 @ 6:00 pm:

    WhichEVER way it goes, I only hope, as I’ve commented before, that for at least SOME sense of true resolve on this one, that the vote is at LEAST 63-64 or more opposed or in favor, because the most razor-thin margin at like 60-61 just won’t FEEL as if the People, through their Elected Representatives, have truly spoken on such a highly-charged matter for all current and future Illinoisans–not to mention all AMERicans on the whole…!

  15. - defaultdotxbe - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 12:14 am:

    I remember a few years ago when another concealed carry bill was in IL House Rep. Ford was the only Chicago-area rep who did not vote against the measure (He voted present, stating he wanted to find out what his constituents wanted before taking a side)

    He started talking to people and eventually said he was leaning toward voting in favor of carry. These charges popped up shortly after.

    Not saying it was because of his stance on carry, it was more likely due to his stance on representing the voters rather than toe a party line (I assume he takes a similar approach to other measures) I think we definitely need more politicians like him.

    I hope he wins his legal battle, and I hope IL recognizes same sex marriage soon too.

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