Illinois Pro-Gay GOP Leader To Resign
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
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
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
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
February 14th, 2013
Voting “present” (abstaining)
Marriage advances in Illinois
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
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.
Marriage update – North America
January 25th, 2013
It’s getting marriagey all over the place. And it’s also getting hard to keep track of what is going on where. So here is an update to help (which will probably be outdated by the time I hit “publish”).
Canada - Marriage has been equal since 2005.
Mexico - Marriage is equal in Mexico City, and marriages conducted there are recognize throughout the nation. However, in December, the Supreme Court unanimously found that an anti-gay marriage law in Oaxaca was unconstitutional. Due to Mexico’s complicated legal system, this means that marriages are highly likely to eventually be legal throughout the nation, but the process requires that five same-sex couples in each state file an amparo (civil rights claim) and that the court issue the same ruling on each. It may take some time for the legality of the state by state process to catch up, but the reality is that any Mexican couple wishing to marry probably can, either immediately or through petition.
United States - Several locales provide or have provided marriage equally:
- Massachusetts –
- California – 2008, but rescinded that year
- Connecticut – 2008
- Vermont – 2009
- Iowa – 2009
- New Hampshire – 2010
- The District of Columbia – 2010
- New York – 2011
- Washington – 2012
- Maryland – 2012
- Maine – 2013
In addition, two Native American tribes, the Coquille in Oregon and the Suquamish in Washington provide marriage equally to their members.
Current and upcoming movement on the marriage front includes:
* DOMA3 – several federal courts have found the federal prohibition on recognition of legally married same-sex couples – the Defense of Marriage Act, Section 3 – to be unconstitutional on several grounds. The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear one case, Windsor v. the United States, a case in which Edie Windsor was assessed in excess of $300,000 in inheritance tax from her wife’s estate, a tax that does not apply to heterosexuals. On Tuesday, the special counsel for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (at the direction of House Speaker John Boehner) filed its arguments in defense of the law (I’ll try to get an analysis up soon). It argued that BLAG has standing to support the law, that only rational basis should apply to anti-gay discrimination, that the nation needs uniform recognition, and that states should be allowed to decline to offer equality if they so choose (thus, I assume, vetoing other states in the name of uniformity). Today Professor Victoria C. Jackson will, at the court’s request, filing a brief insisting that BLAG has no standing and on February 26th, Windsor’s team will present arguments as to why she should not be discriminated against. Oral arguments before SCOTUS will be on March 27th, and the Court will likely release it’s ruling in June. Whichever way it goes, it will probably only impact couples in states which allow marriage.
* Proposition 8 - this is the highest profile case, but it could end up having the least legal effect. In 2008, the California Supreme Court found the state’s law prohibiting same-sex marriage to be a violation of the state’s constitution. For several months, same-sex couples could legally marry, but in November the voters approved Proposition 8 by 52%, ending marriage equality in the Golden State. In May 2009, Ted Olson, one of the most prominent Republican attorneys and David Boies, one of the most prominent Democratic attorneys, teamed up to fight for the legal overturn of that proposition. In January 2010, though cameras were banned from the courtroom, the nation was captivated by the reporting about the case – a trial not only on the legality of the proposition but also on its merits. Federal Judge Vaughn Walker eventually found the proposition to violate the US Constitution on broad grounds. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision, but on much narrower grounds: that a state cannot provide a right to all citizens and then take it away from a select few. Last month the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal, but added the question as to whether the proponents defending the law (the Governor and Attorney General declined to do so) have standing. On Tuesday the proponents of the law filed their brief (I’ll try to get an analysis up soon). Olson and Boies have until February 21st to respond, and oral arguments will be on March 26th with a likely result in June. While the Court could find that the US Constitution guarantees marriage equality across the land, it could also choose to narrow its ruling to the unique issues of the case and only impact Californians.
* Rhode Island - on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the marriage bill. The full House voted in favor today 51-19. However, the Senate is less certain. Although Rhode Island is virtually a single-party state (the Senate has 32 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 1 Independent), the Senate President, Teresa Paiva-Weed, is an opponent to equality. She has said that she will allow a committee to hear the matter, but in times past she has made certain that committees were selected to prevent equality.
I have started a petition at Change.org to request that should Paiva-Weed obstruct or block the passage of this bill, that Rhode Island State Senators remove her from power. Please go sign this petition.
* Illinois - a marriage bill was submitted during the first week of the year in a lame-duck session. Due to difficulty in corralling members returning from holiday, the vote never took place.
After the new legislature was is session, the bill was reintroduced. Currently the status is a bit in limbo as the bill is yet to be sent to committee.
However, that does not mean that there is no excitement, just that it’s happening outside the legislature and in an unexpected arena. The GOP chairman has come out in favor of marriage, which has angered social conservatives in the state. Bit though they are demanding his resignation and threatening ouster, the party insiders are lining up behind the chairman. At the moment it seem like the prevailing position may end up, “we may not support equality, but we support those who do.” In any case, this latest public squabble serves our community well.
* Minnesota - fresh off a victory in turning back an anti-marriage bill in November, Minnesotans for All Families is fighting on and will present a marriage bill to the legislature next month. The political strategist who generaled the battle is staying on to finish the war.
Polls are breaking even in the state and the DFL (Democratic) party has a slim lead in each house, so they will have their work cut out for them. But I would be surprised if the state did not take some movement towards couple recognition.
* Colorado - supporters filed an everything-but-the-name Civil Unions bill which is pretty much guaranteed to pass. More than half of each house has signed on as sponsors. This is as far as that state can go at present, as there is a state constitutional ban on equality.
* Wyoming - out of pretty much nowhere and flying way below the radar, lesbian Sen. Cathy Connolly has file both a domestic partnership bill and a marriage bill. Both have significant Republican support.
They may not be attracting much buzz on these bills due to party power; Republicans dominate both houses by overwhelming numbers. But Wyoming Republicans are traditionally pretty libertarian in their thinking and local papers are mostly quoting the bills’ Republican cosponsors. It may be early yet, but so far there doesn’t appear to be any visible organized opposition. I would not be altogether shocked if one of the bills passed or, at least, got a decent vote.
* New Jersey - the legislature of this state has already passed a marriage bill which was vetoed by the governor. However there are the paths to equality that might be achievable.
One is to take it to the people. But though a supporter brought such a bill, it was quickly dismissed due to the inherent insult of voting on a minority’s civil rights. (Personally, I’d rather win at the polls that fight over whether its an insult to do so.)
The second path, the one favored by equality leaders in the state, is to continue building support one by one until we have the numbers to override a veto. That would require substantial Republican support and this would be held off until after the next primary to minimize conservative backlash.
The third possibility doesn’t appear likely, but it shouldn’t be written off. Governor Chris Christie is a politician, and politicians are susceptible to evolution.
Christie made his mark in the Republican Party by being hard nose on fiscal issues but being more progressive on social issues. He was the poster boy for supporting civil unions, a position that made him seem ahead of the curve. As the Party moves away from anti-gay hostility, he may find it necessary to move as well. It’s not a bet I’d take, but it’s not outside the realm if possible for the Governor to hold to his views but still find some way to allow marriage to become law.
* Hawaii - I’ve no idea why marriage hasn’t already become law.
I think it can be hardest sometimes in states in which one party dominates. In mega-red states, we have little hope (though i just made a case for Wyoming). But in all-blue states, its not always much better. There’s no reason for Democrats to show the voters the difference between them and Republicans, so they fell less pressure to live up to their potential.
I’m sure I’ve missed some state in there. And, of course, you have to always expect that something completely unexpected will happen.
Tomorrow I’ll try to provide an update for Europe and South America.
Yesterday, a state representative in Hawaii filed a bill for marriage equality. She had no cosponsors. Also yesterday, 15 representatives filed a bill calling for a constitutional amendment banning equality. It was also introduced in the senate. Additionally, a state senator filed a pair of ‘take it to the people’ bills which would have voters choose to either allow or ban marriage in the constitution (he’s an opponent of equality). All in all, it looks dire for marriage in Hawaii.
Illinios GOP anti-gays have trouble ousting State Chairman
January 25th, 2013
Thing got very interesting in Illinois at the start of the year. In a move I didn’t anticipate, the state Republican Party chairman endorsed marriage equality and began lobbying legislators to support a marriage bill.
While I was delighted by his support, I feared that he would not hold his position much longer. And the Party does have a provision for removing the state chairman should he do something odd or out of character for a Republican. (Daily Herald)
According to party rules, a special meeting can be called if at least five of the 18 state central committeemen request it.
So, not surprisingly, a committeeman has been rallying the forces to removed Pat Brady from office. Sugar Grove dairy magnate and state Sen. Jim Oberweis wants him gone because, you know, there are more important issues to deal with, you see. But he’s not finding it as easy as he expected.
Oberweis said he emailed “six or seven” committeemen, and several expressed their support for a special meeting. Oberweis said he has yet to see “five hands go up.”
Because, as it turns out, Republican leadership in Illinois may not love Teh Ghey so much, but what they really don’t like is losing. And they took a little glance at the last election results and decided that kicking out a marriage supporter is just not smart politics. As Republican House Leader Tom Cross put it:
“It reaffirms people’s worst fears about our party. I think we bragged about being the big tent party over the years. And there are going to be people that adamantly oppose gay marriage and people who support it. And we need to be the party that says, ‘Hey, that’s fine.’”
Various groups, including women, Latinos and young people aren’t listening to Republicans, Cross said,
“In the last election, we lost Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County. And we lost almost all demographic groups,” Cross said. “Old white guys aren’t going to win the elections any more,”
Now Oberweis may yet win. Brady may go. It seems to good to be true that the anti-gay forces in the Illinois GOP can’t get five committeemen to oppose ‘The HomoSEXshull Agenda’.
But at the moment it seems possible. And if so, we just may be sitting in front row seats for the biggest political extravaganza in decades: the drastic reformation of a political party. This could prove to be a VERY interesting year.
Illinois marriage bill to be introduced on Wednesday
January 15th, 2013
Wasting no time in the fight for equal marriage in Illinois, sponsoring lawmakers will re-introduce legislation that would legalize gay marriage Wednesday.
That move comes on the same day that new lawmakers will be sworn in, the earliest possible time that sponsors could reintroduce the bill after it fell short last week.
Illinois businesses pushing for marriage
January 14th, 2013
Somewhere along the way, marriage equality picked up its biggest unexpected supporter: Corporate America. (Trib)
Dozens of Illinois business leaders and several companies publicly endorsed gay marriage Sunday in an attempt to reignite the issue after a proposed bill failed to get traction in Springfield this month.
In addition to Google, Orbitz Worldwide and Groupon, individual signers of the letter include Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.; Lance Chody, CEO of Garrett Popcorn Shops; Fred Eychaner, chairman of the Newsweb Corp.; and Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs.
And so what once was Good Decent People against them there moral degenerates has now become a battle between Catholic Bishops (along with some Mormons and Muslims) and the Fortune 500. I have to say that this is a turn of events that I don’t think anyone could have predicted.
It was Wall St. that got us New York, and Microsoft and friends that paid for Washington’s referendum.
Hmmm… Coca-Cola, Georgia… nah, I’m just dreaming.
Sen Kirk backs pro-gay Illinois GOP Chairman
January 10th, 2013
Confirmed bachelor, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) has weighed in on the brouhaha resulting from Illinois GOP State Chairman’s support for marriage equality. (WBEZ)
“Senator Kirk has full confidence in Pat Brady’s leadership as chairman of the Illinois Republican Party and looks forward to working with him to elect Republicans in 2014,” Lance Trover, a Kirk spokesman, said in a statement.
Illinois GOP Chair Resists Calls To Resign Over Marriage Support
January 10th, 2013
The head of Illinois’ beleaguered Republican Party is staring down a revolt from some state party bosses after he bucked the official GOP line last week and urged state lawmakers to approve same-sex marriage.
State GOP Chairman Pat Brady faces growing calls for his resignation, at a time when some Illinois Republicans are rethinking the party’s image and stance on social issues, following a dismal showing in November’s elections.
Brady told WBEZ that he hadn’t spoken to party members before speaking out in support of a proposed marriage quality bill. Brady calls the ban on marriage quality the “last condoned discrimination” in Illinois. It is unclear whether there are enough votes in the party’s state committee to force his ouster. Brady isn’t backing down from the threat:
“If people want to throw me out because I took a stand on an issue of discrimination [as] the chairman of the Republican Party, the party founded by Abraham Lincoln, then that’s – that’s up to them and they’re free to do it,” Brady said. “But I’m not backing down.”
Illinois Senate Committee Approves Marriage Equality Bill (UPDATED)
January 3rd, 2013
There’s been a lot of back-and-forth confusion confusion. First, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would grant marriage equality to same-sex couples, was going to come up for a vote today in the Senate Executive Committee. But that looked like it would take too long for the bill to make it to the Senate Floor before the current legislature expires on Wednesday (January 9). So instead, it was decided that it would be attached as an amendment to another bill having to do with car rental agencies that was already on the Senate floor. That way, it could be voted on today. But then, two key supportive Senators were called away from the floor for family emergencies, so that wasn’t going to happen.
And that’s when NOM’s Brian Brown sent out this celebratory email:
We’ve just received word that Illinois Democrats have canceled plans to vote on same-sex marriage this week, unable to secure enough support to guarantee passage. Publicly, they’re saying that it’s just because some of their supporters are out of town, but we are hearing that your pressure is part of the reason legislators don’t want to vote on this issue.
There’s a long way to go, but suddenly same-sex marriage in Illinois isn’t as inevitable as everyone said. …Meanwhile, there’s plenty of work still to be done, and I need your help right now to keep the pressure on.
That pressure, of course, was money. Send him money. Lots of money:
We are calling on all GOP donors to immediately stop funding to the Illinois GOP, and to let the party know that you will be withholding any future donations as long as Pat Brady is head of the party. Instead, I would urge you to take those dollars that you would normally give to the Republican Party, and give them to NOM, or to one of the wonderful pro-family groups in Illinois fighting to defend marriage.
But while Brown was counting his Franklins, the Senate Executive Committee went ahead and approved the original bill by an 8-5 vote, setting up a possible vote next week, assuming the Senate comes back for a special session on Tuesday to take action on the measure.
Meanwhile, the House will be in session next week where it may go ahead and approve the House version of the bill.
Update: After examining the calendar and counting the available votes — several key legislators have already bugged out on vacation on the understanding that the legislative session had, for all practical purposes, ended — Equality Illinois has determined that it will not be possible to pass the marriage equality bill before the new General Assembly meets on January 9:
“We have come so far. Just to be able to witness the historic public debate over the desire of all loving, committed couples to be able to marry in Illinois is a major accomplishment. And with the landmark action by the Senate Executive Committee in favor of the bill, for the first time ever an Illinois legislative body voted to extend the freedom to marry. Never before has the issue gone this far in the Illinois legislature,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest LGBT advocacy organization.
“Our opponents should not believe they have turned the tide against the growing national and Illinois consensus favoring marriage equality. The clock simply ran out, and our legislative supporters ran out of time,” he said.
Equality Illinois believes that the next General Assembly will be more conducive to enacting marriage equality because that Assembly will include Democratic supermajorities in both houses.
Illinois Marriage Vote May Reach Senate Today
January 3rd, 2013
In a surprising move, the bill allowing marriage equality in Illinois has been shelved — because it’s not needed. Instead, it is being attached as an amendment to a car rental bill:
Illinois Senators will no longer be voting on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, a bill that LGBT leaders had been working for months to gain support on. Instead, the legalization of gay marriage had been added as a Senate amendment to HB4963, a bill that deals with automobile rentals and the Collateral Recovery Act, according to Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov.
The move comes after Senate Democrats failed to secure enough votes to waive a 24-hour rule on the posting of the bill Wednesday night. That could have delayed a vote on marriage a day or more.
Obama endorses Illinois marriage bill
January 2nd, 2013
This came out between Christmas and New Years, but it’s well worth reporting, even if a bit late: (Sun-Tribune)
President Barack Obama is urging the Illinois General Assembly to legalize gay marriage in his home state as lawmakers are poised to take up the measure as early as this week in Springfield.
“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.
This sort of endorsement is powerful and effective.
Pat Brady lobbies for marriage equality
January 2nd, 2013
Though you probably haven’t heard of Brady, he has a rolodex to envy. It’s not from his years with high power law and accounting firms, nor his work with the state attorney’s office or the Department of Justice.
No, Pat Brady has the ear of a number of legislators in the state for another reason. He’s the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. (Daily Herald)
Brady said he was making the calls as a citizen, outside of his official role with the Illinois Republican Party.
“I think it’s time for people to support this,” Brady said.
2013 is already turning out to be very interesting.
UPDATE: Brady’s efforts are extremely important, as vote count by conservative site Illinois Review suggest that the bill cannot pass without some Republican support. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Heather Steans, says she has the votes, “if everyone shows up”.
Illinois may vote on marriage this week
January 1st, 2013
According to Windy City
The Senate will be in session Wednesday afternoon, and LGBT leaders say that a vote on a bill seeking gay marriage is likely to come sooner rather than later.
Sen. Heather Steans tells Windy City Times that she wants to see a vote on Thursday.
Looks to be a very exciting January.
Good news for future Illinois equality
September 26th, 2012
The good people of Illinois have been enjoying the benefits of civil unions for over a year now. And they are appreciative for the hard work and careful deliberation that got them there. But no one ever believed that “almost kinda equal” was the end goal and so the hard work continues.
And here’s some good news that holds promise for the future. In a three way race between, full equality, civil unions, and “but the Pope said”, marriage is pulling ahead: (the Southern)
The poll by Southern Illinois University’s Simon Public Policy Institute found that 44 percent of voters support legalizing gay marriage. That’s up 10 points from two years ago.
Nearly one-third of voters said they back civil unions for gay couples.
Only 20 percent oppose any legal recognition of same-sex couples.
Equality Illinois goes to the State Fair
August 9th, 2012
There is nothing so quintessentially all-American than the State Fair. Moms and Pops with kiddies in tow are treated to award winning sheep and cantaloupes, midway carnival rides, and food booths full of kettle corn, Belgian waffles, and deep fried artery-clogging delight.
And this year, along with listening to the sweet sounds of the Steve Miller Band or Blue Oyster Cult, watching the Twilight Parade, and betting on your favorite pony in the horse races, you can also stop by the Equality Illinois/Lambda Legal booth and pick up an “I Do” sticker to show your support for marriage equality.
Which is, in my opinion, brilliant! We are as American as Junior Beef and Heifer Showmanship. As mainstream as 500 pounds of unsalted butter sculpted into the shape of a life size cow. As part of the social fabric as the Illinois Fire Museum and Services Tent.
It’s about time that we start recognizing that fact. Sure we belong on the stage on Broadway and in room-decorating competition reality shows. But we also belong in the Illinois State Fair proudly showing off our ribbon winning pumpkins. Or our tiara wearing, pig directing, prowess.