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Posts for January, 2013

Illinois marriage bill to be introduced on Wednesday

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2013

Windy City:

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

Timothy Kincaid

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

Timothy Kincaid

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

Jim Burroway

January 10th, 2013

Chicago’s WBEZ reports:

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)

Jim Burroway

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

Jim Burroway

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

Timothy Kincaid

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

Timothy Kincaid

January 2nd, 2013

The effort to pass marriage equality in Illinois has a valuable new ally, Pat Brady. He has pulled out his phone and started calling legislators to encourage support for the bill.

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

Timothy Kincaid

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

Timothy Kincaid

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

Timothy Kincaid

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.

Cook county: “my bad”

Timothy Kincaid

June 14th, 2012

In a scenario reminiscent of the Proposition 8 trial in California, the lawsuit against the state of Illinois is having difficulty finding opposition.

The official defendant of the state’s discriminatory policy is David Orr, the Cook County Clerk. But Orr has filed a brief saying, basically, “yep, my bad, it’s discrimination all right”. The Illinois Attorney General intends on filing a brief indicating that it is his her belief that banning gay marriage is a violation of the constitution and the Governor is booking his seat on the Equality Train, as well.

So who will defend discrimination?

It may be the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based Catholic legal group created to defend abortion protesters (not to be confused with the very truly evil Thomas More Law Center). As best I can tell the TMSociety does nothing but defend the crazy people who try and shove aborted-fetus placards in your face and they are likely to find themselves completely unprepared for the challenge.

Lawsuits Planned To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage In Illinois

Jim Burroway

May 30th, 2012

As I said earlier in today’s Agenda, Lambda Legal and the ACLU will be filing separate lawsuits today in a bid to legalize marriage equality in Illinois. According to The Chicago Tribune:

The gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois each plan to file a lawsuit Wednesday against the clerk of Cook County, claiming that not issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Illinois Constitution.

…A total of 25 couples from across the state are plaintiffs in the two lawsuits. Each couple tried to get a marriage license from the Cook County clerk’s office in May and was denied based on the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which prohibits marriage “between 2 individuals of the same sex” and states: “A marriage between 2 individuals of the same sex is contrary to the public policy of this State.”

Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office issued a statement from the clerk, who is out of the country: “The time is long past due for the state of Illinois to allow county clerks to issue marriage license to couples who want to make their commitment. I hope these lawsuits are the last hurdle to achieving equal marriage rights for all.”

Illinois has been providing civil unions for almost a year. The lawsuit is being filed on the basis that civil unions, rather than being equal to marriage, is actually reinforcing discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. According to The Chicago Sun-Times:

Illinois’ constitution, more than other states’ constitutions, spells out rights that advocates for same-sex couples see as guaranteeing a right for people of any gender to marry, despite laws the Legislature passed in 1996 prohibiting same-sex marriage.

…The ACLU case will argue that the right to privacy in Illinois’ Constitution protects against a ban on gay marriage. California’s constitution had a similar right to privacy cited by that state’s high court in upholding a right to same-sex marriage. That law is under review in federal appellate court.

Lambda also argues that Illinois’ ban on “special legislation” that benefits one group over another prohibits a ban on same-sex marriage.

Romney Wins It, Chicago Style

Jim Burroway

March 21st, 2012

One of the most consistent trends in the GOP primaries has been Romney’s strength in urban areas. That matters in Illinois, where Chicago and its greater suburbs (the Illinois portion, at least) make up almost 9 million of Illinois’ 12.8 million statewide. This wasn’t an Illinois primary so much as it was a Chicago primary. In addition, there are another 1.5 million urban-and-suburbanites in Peoria, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, and the the eastern metro area of St. Louis. With those kind of demographics, should come as no surprise that Romney did very well. Santorum dominated the rural areas, but when that is less than a fifth of the state’s population, that’s not much to draw on. This chart and map from CNN tells the story:

IL
Romney 47%
Santorum 35%
Gingrich 9%
Paul 8%

The exit polls also tell a story. First of all, 98% of the GOP electorate is white?

Okay. Delving deeper, Santorum continues to hold the blue-collar vote, winning among those who have no college education. Unfortunately for hom, they were only 16% of the GOP electorate. He also pulled in the votes from those earning less than $30,000 (only 10% of the GOP electorate). And he wins among those who are “very conservative” and who identify as white born-again Evangelicals, and again he lost among Catholics, including those who attend Mass weekly. And in heavily urban Illinois, all of those factors add up to a convincing win for Romney.

So it’s Romney’s night to celebrate, right? Well, okay, but he still needs to worry that his support is weak. Of the 42% of GOP voters who “have reservations” about their candidate, 54% of them ended up supporting Romney anyway. Another dark cloud: Voters in this exit poll were asked whether they prefer their candidate ultimately wins or the primary ends soon. Of the 66% who want their candidate to win no matter how long it takes, it was very nearly an easy split between Romney and Santorum, with a slight tilt to Romney. But of the 31% who just want it over now, 54% were Romney voters. In other words, those who want this over aren’t getting their wish.

Illinois marriage bill introduced

Timothy Kincaid

February 8th, 2012

Three legislators have introduced a bill in the Illinois House to enact marriage equality. This bill, which comes a year after the state enacted Civil Unions, may not have been presented with the expectation of passage, but as a means to introduce the notion and begin conversation.

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