Posts Tagged As: Illinois

Schadenfreude Alert

Jim Burroway

November 5th, 2013

From an Illinois resident:

Illinois House Passes Marriage Equality Bill (Updated)

Jim Burroway

November 5th, 2013

The Illinois House of Representatives has just approved a marriage equality bill in a 61-54 vote. The bill is slightly different from the one passed by the state Senate last February. Earlier today the bill was amended to change its effective date to June 1, 2014, rather than thirty days after signing by the governor. This allowed the required threshhold for passage to drop from 71 votes to 60. The bill will now go back to the Senate for its quick approval — likely before this evening is over — before heading to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he is eager to sign it into law.

Eleven Democrats voted against the measure. They were Reps. Daniel V Beiser, John E. Bradley, Kartherine Cloonen, Jerry F. Costello, II, Monique Davis, Mary Flowers, Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr., Charles Jefferson, Frank Mautino, Brandon Phelps, and Sue Scherer. Two others voted “Present” — Reps. Rita Mayfield and Derrick Smith — but because of the sixty-vote threshhold needed for passage during the veto session, their votes were effectively “no” votes.

Three Republicans voted in support of marriage equality. They were Reps. Tom Cross, Ron Sandack, and Ed Sullivan, Jr.

Illinois will become the fifteenth state, plus the District of Columbia, to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Update (5:05 p.m. CST): Barely an hour has passed, and the Senate has given its concurrence to the House bill in a 32-21 vote. It now goes to the governor.

Update (5:30 p.m. CST): The Chicago Sun-Times says, “Administration sources predicted the governor, once the bill arrives on his desk, would hold a bill-signing ceremony within the next week or two.”

Buzzfeed: Illinois House to Vote on Marriage Equality Today (Updated)

Jim Burroway

November 5th, 2013

This Buzzfeed post quotes Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, a saying that the Illinois House will vote on the marriage equality bill today. But it then goes on to cite other sources saying that the vote count stands “at 58 or 59,” just shy of the 60 votes needed, and that the exact timing for the vote depends on who is present. So who knows when it will happen. But it does look like there’s some movement:

As lawmakers began Tuesday’s session, Rep. Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the House, amended its language to change the date the legislation would go into effect, and to seemingly reiterate exemptions for private clubs do not want to host marriages for same-sex couples.

The amendment removes lines including the 30-day effective date, which will allow Harris to pass the bill with only 60 votes instead of 71. Rules dictate that bills passed in this “veto session” like this can go into effect June 1, 2014.

If the amended bill makes it through the House, it will then need to go back to the Senate for its approval, which observers say is no big deal.

Update: Debate has started! You can see the livestream here.

ACLU Announces Three Marriage Lawsuits

Jim Burroway

July 9th, 2013

Fresh off its victory in Windsor v. U.S. which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, the ACLU’s is filing three more lawsuits, in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia. In Whitewood v. Corbett, the ACLU is challenging Pennsylvania’s statute which bans same-sex marriage. In Fisher-Borne v. Smith, the ACLU will amend its lawsuit seeking adoption rights to include the right to marriage. In the Virginia case, the ACLU and Lambda Legal are still in the planning stages, with plaintiffs and precise details of the case still being worked out. They expect to file that lawsuit later this summer.

Meanwhile, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a motion with the New Mexico Supreme Court, asking it to order state officials to allow same-sex couples to marry. State law is currently silent on the question. Other lawsuits are working their way through Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and Michigan.

Next Step: civil union states

Timothy Kincaid

June 26th, 2013

The overturn of DOMA3 provides a number of benefits for citizens of the marriage equality states. But it simultaneously creates a situation of discrimination for those who live in civil union states.

Before today same-sex couples in New Jersey, for example, had all of the same rights as married couples in New York. That is to say, both were afforded all of the marriage rights and obligations that a state confers but none of the federal rights or obligations. Now, however, New York same-sex couples can avail themselves of a whole host of federal benefits while New Jersey couples remain subjected to a lesser status – not only in name, but in practice.

Currently the states with civil unions (or domestic partnerships) are Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, and Oregon (Wisconsin offers limited rights). Of these, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon are banned by state constitution from offering equal marriage status to same-sex couples. Which leaves our next battlegrounds to be Hawaii, Illinois, and New Jersey.

In Hawaii, the legislature has been either voting down (or letting die) marriage equality bills, including one submitted in January of this year. However, this changes the picture and it is likely that marriage will finally come to the state which brought the issue to the nation’s attention.

Illinois’ speaker of the House let die a marriage bill just last month. Equality is likely when the House reconvenes in November.

But New Jersey will be the interesting battle. Governor Christie vetoed a marriage bill in February 2012. But he has also supported civil unions and asserted that “discrimination should not be tolerated”. Although marriage and civil unions simply are not equal, his position was not necessarily contradictory before today.

Now, however, a state can decide if federal benefits should be afforded to their gay citizens. Should the legislature send Christie another marriage bill – and I anticipate that they will – he will have to decide whether he opposes unequal treatment or whether he supports tradition and the teachings of his church. And as Christie has presidential aspirations, this might be the first indicator as to whether the Republican Party can acclimate to the new reality.

Illinois House Punts Marriage Bill To November

Jim Burroway

May 31st, 2013

The Illinois House of Representatives adjourned until November without taking a vote on SB 10, which would provide marriage equality for the state’s same-sex couples. Supporters had filled the gallery hoping to see history being made, but the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), said that he didn’t call for a vote because he still didn’t have enough votes to pass it:

“As chief sponsor of this legislation, decisions surrounding the legislation are mine and mine alone. Several of my colleagues have indicated they’d not be willing to cast a vote on this bill today,” Harris said shortly after 7 p.m.

“And I’ve never been sadder to accept this request, but I have to keep my eye, as we all must, on the ultimate prize. They’ve asked for time to go back to their districts, talk to their constituents and reach out to their minds and hearts and have told me they’ll return in November with their word that they’re prepared to support this legislation.

“And I take my colleagues at their word they shall.

The bill cleared the state Senate  on Valentine’s Day in a 34-21 vote, and Gov. Pat Quinn had promised to sign it into law if it reaches his desk.

Update: Here’s video of Harris’s announcement, followed by openly gay Rep. Deborah Mell:

Illinois looks to be on the verge of voting

Timothy Kincaid

May 31st, 2013

Today is the last day for the Illinois House to vote for marriage equality. If you would like to watch to see it happen (or not, God forbid) here’s a link to the live website:

We are watching for Senate Bill 10

Will Illinois Be #13?

Jim Burroway

May 20th, 2013

That’s what this report from Windy City Times suggests:

Sponsors have until May 31 to pass the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” which would allow all couples, regardless of their gender, to marry. Failing that deadline, the bill’s passage would be delayed for months. LGBT groups pushing for the bill say they are ready to see it come up for a vote.

“I have absolutely no doubt we’re going to be done with this by May 31,” said Jim Bennett, Midwest regional director for Lambda Legal. “I believe that this bill is going to pass.”

Bennett declined to give a specific vote count, but said that he expected the bill could be called and passed any day. Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda, said he thinks the bill has the 60 votes needed for passage in the House.

The Illinois Senate passed the bill on Valentine’s Day in a 34-21 vote, but the House’s chief Sponsor Greg Harris has held off calling for a vote until there are enough votes to pass it. Gov. Pat Quinn has said that he will sign the bill into law.

Illinois Pro-Gay GOP Leader To Resign

Jim Burroway

May 6th, 2013

Top Illinois Republican leaders are telling reporters that the state’s party chairmain, Pat Brady, will resign tomorrow, effective immediately. The rumored resignation comes two months after Brady survived an attempt to force him out of the state GOP chairmanship over his vocal support for a marriage equality bill that was passed by the state Senate. No reason has been given yet for his resignation, but his wife has reportedly been battling ovarian cancer for the past two years. Brady is also in the process of starting a new public affairs firm. According to The Daily Herald, Brady’s tenure is a microcosm of both state and national Republican politics:

While some leaders say the party needs to be a “big tent” organization that can better attract independent voting women, gay and minority voters unhappy with current Democratic leadership, they find themselves at odds with the more conservative factions of the party, which often dominate primary elections.

Brady, in January, began making public statements in support of same-sex marriage, which runs contrary to the party’s platform defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In doing so, he has had the backing of major party donors, including former Exelon Corp. Chairman John Rowe.

Committeemen in favor of Brady’s removal fault him for not only violating the platform but making the statements without notifying them first. Brady said the party was on the “wrong side of history.”

Brady survives ouster attempt

Timothy Kincaid

March 12th, 2013

When Pat Brady, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, endorsed marriage equality earlier this year, many thought it would end his influence and position in the party. But instead it seems to have highlighted a decline in the sway of social conservatives. Moderates – and those who don’t much care one way or the other – appear to no longer be giving the far right control over social issues; or at least not in this matter.

Sources within the GOP state central committee said the group of committee members seeking Brady’s ouster had been having difficulty coming up with the required 60 percent of the weighted vote to remove the state chairman. Questions also were raised over whether such action could be taken during a special meeting under the state GOP’s rules.

The states other party power players, including the House GOP leader and Sen. Mark Kirk, have sided with Brady.

While this does not suggest that Republicans as a whole are going to do an about face on marriage, it does portend that there are going to be some political fireworks ahead.

Illinois Marriage Equality Bill Passes House Committee

Jim Burroway

February 27th, 2013

In a very late-night committee hearing after a session of the full House went way past its bedtime, the House Executive Committee passed  Senate Bill 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would grant marriage equality to same-sex couples. The vote was 6-5, with six Democrats (Daniel Burke, Robert Rita, Greg Harris, Toni Berrios, Keith Farnham and Luis Arroyo) voting yeas, and four Republicans (Mike Bost, Renee Kosel, Joe Sosnowski, Michael Tryon) and one Democrat  (Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr.) voting no. The vote was very close:

Arroyo, a Democrat, said he did not want to be an obstacle for the bill getting to floor but that he opposed it due to religious objections and his constituent desires. He said he would vote it out of committee, but would vote “no” later.

The bill now goes on to the House floor, where its passage is expected to be difficult. It was already passed in the Senate on Valentine’s day, and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has already said he would sign it if it reaches his desk.

Latino leaders support Illinois marriage bill

Timothy Kincaid

February 26th, 2013

From the Christian Post

The letter, which was reportedly signed by 23 Latino leaders, including Miguel Del Valle, a former City Clerk of Chicago; Jesse H. Ruiz, Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education; and Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum, urges lawmakers to approve the gay marriage bill, claiming “no member of anyone’s family, whether they’re gay or straight, should face discrimination when they hope to marry the person they love.”

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Illinois Senate

Timothy Kincaid

February 14th, 2013

Today the State Senate in Illinois voted on the marriage equality bill. The bipartisan vote result: 34 for; 21 against; 2 abstentions


Voting yes:

Cullerton, J
Cullerton, T

Voting no:


Voting “present” (abstaining)

Van Pelt




Voting yes:


Voting no:


Marriage advances in Illinois

Timothy Kincaid

February 5th, 2013


The Executive Committee voted 9-5 to move legislation giving marital rights to same sex couples to the Senate floor. Democrats with a 40-member majority say they have the needed votes.

Senate leadership is coordinating the timing so as to vote for equality on St. Valentine’s Day.

Sun-Times politics wonk: Republicans want marriage equality passed and over with

Timothy Kincaid

January 28th, 2013

Recently a friend and I play a smart-phone game in which you spell words to flip letters and gain control of the board. If you play creatively and protect your letters, you can situate yourself into a non-losable position. And when I’m so lucky as to do so, Anthony will play a word that ends the game, letting me win, and move on to the next game.

And, according to Rich Miller, the political reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, that is what Illinois Republicans want to do on the issue of marriage equality: lose the battle and move on to the next one.

Talk to just about any top Illinois Republican these days off the record and they’ll freely admit that they want the bill legalizing gay marriage to be approved as soon as possible.

The reason so many Republicans would like to see the bill passed is because they know that with the huge, new Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers, that it’s eventually going to pass anyway.

They want to get this issue out of the way and behind them as soon as possible. The issue is trending hard against the GOP’s historical opposition, and they want the thing off the table before it starts to hurt them.

After New Hampshire Republicans refused to reverse marriage, and after New York Republicans met in caucus and came out with enough votes to pass marriage, and after the call by Wyoming Republicans for marriage (and it’s very close vote in today’s committee hearing), and after Rhode Island’s House Minority Leader lecturing the Senate Leader about delaying votes, and after the Illinois GOP chairman’s endorsement of equality (without losing his position), this argument makes a lot of sense.

And I’m sure that BTB readers will happily agree. Let’s pass marriage equality and move on.

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