* As I told subscribers earlier today, the most pervasive rumor at the Statehouse is that the gay marriage bill will be called for a vote today. I’m not sure what to believe at this point. Here’s the Illinois Observer’s take…
A top Democrat told The Illinois Observer on Wednesday night, “The roll call is in the high 50s. It’s close; it’s almost there.” […]
Some pro-marriage equality activists, who have been chafing at the Illinois House’s inaction this spring while other states have swiftly approved their own same sex marriage bills, have grown increasingly frustrated with House Speaker Michael Madigan, arguing that he only needs to “twist some arms” to get to 60.
“Madigan is loathe to force a member to vote against his or her district and to anger a majority of his or her constituents,” said an insider. “That’s how expensive primary challenges are created, which waste money needed to beat Republicans in the fall.”
The insider also noted that a string of controversial votes taken during the spring legislative session could ignite multiple primary contests for Democrats next year.
“The pension vote and the conceal carry vote have already exposed multiple Democrats to potential primary challenges,” said the insider. “A risky same sex marriage vote will just expand the pool of Democratic incumbents staring at a primary fight.”
There’s no doubt that Chicago-area Democrats could be looking at primary challengers because of this year’s controversial session.
* Meanwhile, President Obama spoke about the gay marriage bill last night in Chicago…
America is probably more tolerant, more accepting of difference than any time in our history. Obviously, you’ve got an African American President, a former and soon to be again female Speaker of the House. The work that we did together to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” is something that I could not be prouder of. But we also know that there’s still a lot of people who are excluded in our society and we’ve got more work to do.
Here in Illinois, we’ve got a vote on same-sex marriage that’s going to be coming up in the state legislature. And I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply support. I wrestled with this for a long time and I am absolutely convinced it is the right thing to do. And we have to make sure that wherever we go, we are reminding people that the essence of America is that everybody is treated equally under the law without exception.