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Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions in Illinois.

2013-MAY/JUN: More reactions to the marriage
equality bill not being voted upon in the House.

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This topic is continued from a previous essay.

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2013-MAY-31: Reaction by Freedom to Marry:

Marc Solomon, the national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, said:

"After an overwhelming victory in the Senate, today’s failure by the Illinois House is a disgrace, especially for the thousands of committed same-sex couples who want and deserve to make the ultimate vow before their friends and family and spend the rest of their lives with the person they love, protected and supported by their marriage.

Freedom to Marry is proud to be an active partner in Illinois Unites for Marriage, and is grateful for the groups that led the effort on the ground — the ACLU, Equality Illinois, and Lambda Legal. We also deeply appreciate the leadership of lead bill sponsors in the House and Senate, Representative Greg Harris and Senator Heather Steans. Make no mistake, we will fight and make our case until all Illinois families have the freedom to marry the person they love and until the legislative vote reflects the solid majority of Illinoisans and Americans who stand for treating their neighbors the way they want to be treated." 1

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2013-MAY-31: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) declares major victory:

NOM is the largest national organization dedicated to maintaining marriage inequality across the U.S. Brian Brown, its President, wrote:

"This effort to redefine marriage in Illinois was one of the most fiercely contested legislative battles in the country this year. This is a great victory for our allies and supporters, as well as Illinois families who have worked tirelessly with us to preserve marriage in Illinois. We are gratified that our collective hard work has paid off in this stunning victory."

"So much for the inevitability of gay marriage. With a coalition that included strong support from the African American community as well as so many others throughout the state, we did what nobody in the intelligentsia thought was possible. This is a huge victory at a pivotal time, and totally undercuts the lie that somehow same-sex marriage is inevitable."

"Our thanks go out to champions such as the African American Clergy Coalition; Rev. James Meeks and Bishop Lance Davis; the Illinois Conference of Catholic Bishops and their director Bob Gilligan; the Illinois Family Institute and their director David Smith; the Illinois Family PAC and their director, Paul Caprio; and the Coalition of African American Pastors and their chairman, Rev. Bill Owens. Everyone pitched in everything they had to stop this ill-conceived legislation. We at NOM are honored to have been part of the coalition effort."

NOM spent well over $125,000 on grassroots activities to defeat the bill. 2

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2013-MAY-31: Events occurring after the Illinois House fails to vote on SSM:

Mike Riopell and Doug T. Graham, writing for the Daily Herald, said:

"... same-sex marriage supporters couldn't find enough votes despite the national Democratic Party's support and a House where Democrats have a 71-47 advantage over Republicans.

'I think it is absolutely appalling that certain members of this body are willing to put their re-election interest in front of all interests of the families of the state,' said state Rep. Sam Yingling, a Round Lake Beach Democrat and openly gay lawmaker.

Stopping same-sex marriage in a big, reliably Democratic state like Illinois is a major victory for opponents, who have seen a handful of other states approve [SSM] in recent months.

'"There's a lot of emotion here,' said state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, an Antioch Republican. 'There were a lot of people in the gallery were disappointed that the vote wasn't called. They feel very strongly they have a right to be married, and it's just not what I believe.'

That emotion displayed itself on the House floor via a tearful speech by the legislation's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Greg Harris, and loud yells from onlookers.

Supporters and opponents came from across Illinois to lobby on lawmakers' last scheduled day of session.

'Me and my boyfriend had today off work so we said let's drive all the way down,' said Tim Bertucci, 23, of Arlington Heights.

Harris announced he'd put off a vote until November. He said lawmakers appear to be more likely to sign off then.

'I take my colleagues at their words that they shall,' Harris said." 3

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2013-JUN-01: Culture News writes article titled "God Intervenes to Preserve Marriage in Illinois:"

Bishop Larry Trotter, co-chair of the African American Clergy Coalition -- an anti-marriage equality group -- said:

"Today our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has won!  Pastor James Meeks, Bishop Lance Davis, and I are so proud of the God-fearing Black Caucus [in the Illinois legislature] ... who withstood the pressure of the LGBT forces and allowed God's word concerning marriage to remain between one man and one woman in Illinois." 4

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2013-JUN-02: Lambda Legal responds to the failure to vote on the SSM bill:

Jim Bennett, Director of the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, issued the following statement:

"This is a stunning failure in the Illinois House. This is too important to families across Illinois. ... Lambda Legal’s lawsuit, Darby v. Orr which was filed a year ago yesterday will move forward. The day is coming when Illinois will have the freedom to marry. Lambda Legal has been working in the Midwest for the respect of our relationships for 20 years and we won’t stop until same-sex couples in Illinois are treated with dignity and respect. 

We’d like to thank Sen. Steans for passing this bill in the Senate. We thank Rep. Harris, Rep. Cassidy and Rep. Mell, who have worked so hard to see this through. However, it’s unacceptable that our community did not at least get the vote Rep. Harris promised on the House floor. We have a right to know where our elected officials stand on the fundamental right to marry the person you love.  We will continue to work with them to push toward passing this critical law as soon as possible." 5

On the other hand, if the bill had been voted upon in June, it probably would have been defeated. That would have killed the bill. By not voting on it, the bill remains active and can be voted upon later in the year when presumably there will be greater support.

The lawsuit reference is to two suits filed on 2012-MAY-30 by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois. Plaintiffs included a total of 25 same-sex couples from Illinois who tried to marry but were refused marriage licenses. The Illinois Attorney General’s office filed papers stating that the existing legislation that prohibits same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and States Attorney also agreed. Five county clerks have been allowed to be defendants of the existing discriminatory law.

These lawsuits have since been consolidated into a single action: "Darby v. Orr." It will now proceed, since the Legislature has refused, so far, to act.

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Unknown date: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) asks the Illinois public to write to their state representatives:

NOM suggests in an Action Alert that people write to their representative and ask her or him to reject HB 110 -- the bill to legalize same-sex marriage. It is expected to come up for a vote in late October or early November during the special session of the Legislature.

The request states:

"This is a dangerous moment . . . gay marriage activists are desperate, and willing to do just about anything to gain the votes they need. Who knows what kinds of promises and favors are being offered in an attempt to convince representatives to abandon their constituencies and consciences?" 6

It appears that NOM is unaware of any specific immoral, unethical, or illegal actions on the part of same-sex marriage supporters, or they almost certainly would have provided details. Instead, they were only able to resort to speculaton, innuendo, and character assassination. That type of behavior is typically not the mark of an ethical organization.

Public opinion polls in the state show that most adults favor marriage equality. For example, a Crain/Ipsos poll in 2013-FEB showed that the same-sex marriage bill -- the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act" found that:

  • 50% support the bill.
  • 29% oppose the bill
  • 20% are undecided or did not answer.

The survey also found that those favoring legalization of SSM held stronger beliefs in favor of marriage equality than opponents did against SSM.

Since every successive poll in Illinois has shown more support and less opposition to SSM, we can safely predict that any legitimate poll taken in 2013-SEP would show more than 50% support and less than 29% opposition for a margin of more than 21 percentage points in favor of the bill's passage.

600 adults were polled. The margin of error is ±4.7 percentage points. 7

Thus, if a representative decides to vote in favor of HB 110, it would support the wishes of their constituencies, not abandon them as the NOM action alert states.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Joseph McCormick, "Illinois: Same-sex marriage bill withdrawn as ‘not enough votes’ to pass it ," Pink News, 2013-JUN-01, at:
  2. "Marriage Supporters Win Major Victory In Illinois — Effort To Redefine Marriage Fails To Gather Support And Is Tabled Without A Vote," National Organization for Marriage," Email, 2013-MAY-31, http://www.pinknews.co.uk
  3. Mike Riopell and Doug T. Graham, "House declines same-sex marriage vote," Daily Herald, 2013-MAY-31, at: http://www.dailyherald.com/
  4. "God Intervenes to Preserve Marriage in Illinois," Culture News, Culture News, 2013-JUN-01, at: http://culturecampaign.blogspot.ca/
  5. "More from Freedom to Marry," JoeMyGod, 2013-JUN-02, at: http://joemygod.blogspot.com/
  6. "Action Alert: Oppose Same-Sex Marriage During the Special Session," National Organization for Marriage, undated, at: http://capwiz.com/
  7. Greg Hinz, "Illinoisans back gay marriage 50-29: Crain's/Ipsos poll," Crain's Chicago Business, 2013-FEB-19, at: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2013-MAY-31
Latest update: 2013-SEP-22
Author: B.A. Robinson
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