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

2013-NOV:
The Senate also passes the SSM bill.
Support/opposition to SSM throughout Illinois.
Governor Quinn signed SSM bill into law.
Some reactions to, & results of, the signing.

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This topic is continued from a previous essay.

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2013-NOV-05: The Senate also passed the amended bill:

Because of a few amendments, the House version of the bill was slightly different from the Senate version. So, the bill had to return to the Senate for a final vote.

Slightly more that an hour after the House passed SB10, the Senate also passed it. Their vote was 32 to 29. This is probably a record time for a same-sex marriage bill to be approved by both a state House and Senate.

It now goes to Governor Pat Quinn (D) who has long supported SSM and has promised to sign it into law. 1,2,3

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2013-NOV-06: Chicago Business comments on geographic distribution of support/opposition to SSM:

Greg Hinz of Chicago Business commented on the votes in the Legislature for and against the same-sex marriage bill. He wrote:

"... take a look at the roll call votes yesterday in the Illinois House and Senate and something leaps off the page: This vote was heavily geographic, a sign that Illinois remains two states, with one prevailing culture in the Chicago area, and another downstate."

" ... In the House, for instance, just four of the 61 'aye' votes came from legislators whose districts are outside metropolitan Chicago, even though a third of the state's population is outside of the Chicago area. Just four of 61.

The roll call was almost as heavily flopped on the "no" side, with the 54 'antis' heavily concentrated in places like Decatur, Murphysboro, Freeport, and Quincy.

The picture was roughly the same in the Senate. Just six of 32 'yes' votes came from people outside of the Chicago area, and two of them came from the university town of Champaign, which culturally is part of the north [of the state] rather than the south." 4

This observation is probably true of many states because urban centers tend to be more concerned about civil rights, including the right to marry. Rural areas and small towns tend to follow more conservative forms of religion and are generally much more antagonistic towards equal rights for the LGBT community.

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2013-NOV-08: Ceremony scheduled for Governor to sign SSM bill:

Governor Pat Quinn (D) was scheduled to sign the same-sex marriage bill on the afternoon of NOV-20 in the Chicago Forum at the University of Illinois. He said:

"Marriage equality is coming to Illinois. I look forward to signing this landmark legislation on Nov. 20 and celebrating a big step forward with the people of Illinois." 5

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2013-NOV-20: Governor Quinn signed the SSM bill into law:

Using a total of 100 pens, Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed the marriage equality bill into law before an audience of about 2,300 supporters. The pens later became highly sought-after souvenirs of the occasion.

He said:

"In the very beginning of the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln of Illinois said that our nation was conceived in liberty. And he said it's dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and that's really what we're celebrating today. It's a triumph of democracy." 6

The first part of this excerpt from this speech is, of course, in error. Many immigrants arriving in the United States during the colonial era sought religious freedom for themselves, but few were willing to grant that same freedom to others who held different beliefs. Meanwhile, a genocide of Native Americans was underway. Many of the authors of the U.S. Constitution owned slaves. Women were not allowed to vote. Inter-racial couples were not allowed to marry. The LGBT community were either in hiding, or received long jail sentences wherever detected. Same-sex marriage had not even been conceived of.

Still, legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois today is viewed by many as a triumph of equality.

CBS-Chicago carried the event: 7

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said:

"I am a proud Illinoisan today. Thanks to everyone in the state of Illinois for making this a land we can all be proud of. It's time to stop planning rallies and start planning weddings." 8

Considering the strong opposition by most Republicans, and by most religious and social conservatives, it is difficult to see why she thanked "everyone" in the state for making equality a reality. It was a long, hard-fought battle resisted by well organized conservative religious groups.

Judy Baar Topinka (R), Illinois State Comptroller, commented on the same-sex marriage bill becoming law. 9 She honored her fellow Republican legislators who broke party ranks and voted in favor of marriage equality, as well as Rep. Harris (D) who sponsored the bill, and Governor Quinn for supporting and signing the bill:

The man in the center of the video is not making a rude gesture. He is signing for hearing impaired persons attending the celebration.

One family at the signing was Jan Arnold and Mary Anderson and their 8-year-old son. They had been married in Iowa during 2011, and now reside in Illinois. When the bill becomes effective on 2014-JUN-01, their marriage will be recognized in Illinois for the first time.

Jan said that they will be:

"... finally safe and protected in our home state. We'll have the same protections that our straight [married] friends do." 7

Another member of the LGBT community was Patrick Bova, who will now be able to marry Jim Darby, his partner of 50 years. Patrick said:

"We have never wanted special rights or extra rights."

He noted that when he dies, he will be eligible to be buried next to Darby, a Korean War veteran, in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in suburban Elwood, IL. 7

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, said:

"There is no straight or gay marriage in Illinois. There is only marriage." 7

However, not everyone is happy with the new law. Pat McManus, pastor of the non-denominational Christian church Kingdom Impact Center, lamented:

"Freedom of speech is gone, freedom of religion is gone."

He doesn't trust the clause in the SSM law that emphasizes the right of churches to discriminate against loving, committed same-sex couples by refusing to marry them. He said:

"I don't believe what they say. I believe that'll change down the road. Because once everything begins to start, it's going to begin to erode all the way down." 7

That might possibly happen over many decades. However, the main protection for his wish to continue discriminating against same-sex couples is found in the separation of church and state provision in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is the first of the ten Bill of Rights, and is not likely to be changed anytime soon.

The rate of change toward acceptance of the LGBT community appears to be accelerating in Illinois. It took 31 years to have an anti-discrimination bill passed that protected all people on the basis of their sexual orientation. It took 6 years for civil unions to be approved. It took "only" about 3 years to legalize same-sex marriage.

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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. "Illinois lawmakers vote to allow gay marriages," Associated Press, 2013-NOV-05, at: http://www.nydailynews.com/
  2. "Gay marriage to become legal in Illinois in June after bill passes House, Senate," ABC - Chicago, 2013-NOV-06, at: http://abclocal.go.com/
  3. "Illinois Gay Marriage Bill Passes As State Poised To Become 15th To Legalize Same Sex Marriage," Huffington Post, 2013-NOV-05, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  4. Greg Hinz, "What the gay marriage vote says about Illinois," Crain's Chicago Business, 2013-NOV-06, at: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/
  5. Monica Carcia, "Quinn to sign gay marriage bill into law Nov. 20," Chicago Tribune, 2013-NOV-08, at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
  6. Monica Carcia, "Quinn signs Illinois gay marriage bill," Chicago Tribune, 2013-NOV-20, at: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/
  7. Brett Wilkins, "Illinois legalizes gay marriage," Digital Journal, 2013-NOV-21, at: http://www.digitaljournal.com/
  8. "Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Signs Marriage Equality Bill." Instinct Magazine, 2013-NOV-20, at: http://instinctmagazine.com/post/watch-live-illinois-gov-pat-quinn-signs-marriage-equality-bill
  9. Mary Ann Ahem, "Sweet 16: Illinois Gov. Signs Gay Marriage Bill," NBC Chicago, 2012-NOV-20, at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2013-NOV-05
Latest update: 2013-NOV-27
Author: B.A. Robinson
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