President Obama’s advocacy group, Organizing for America, is throwing its weight behind the push for marriage equality in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports:
Though the organization had been created to assist Obama’s second-term agenda on a variety of issues before Congress, the group’s decision to get involved in state matters brings its vast technological and networking skills to the statehouse level. “We’ve heard from OFA supporters here in Illinois that this issue matters to you, and that’s why we’re teaming up with Illinois Unites for Marriage –a joint project of ACLU Illinois, Equality Illinois, and Lambda Legal — to add our voices to this fight,” Lindsay Siler, the group’s national director of issue campaigns, told supporters in an e-mail.
This is the first time the White House has gotten so directly involved in the marriage equality fight at the state level.
What’s holding up the bill in the House? Nico Lang explains at The Huffington Post:
Although Chicagoans often like to pretend we like in a totally Democratic state, this fight shows just how politically divided we are, between the Blue North and the Red South. Illinois is a little perfect petri dish of the national conversation, where polls show a wide majority of Americans (58 percent versus 32 percent just nine years ago) now support full marriage benefits for everyone, even though a sizeable minority of queer people live in states that offer them those rights. Only nine states have passed marriage equality legislation, and most of those are tucked away in New England.
What can we do?
When I spoke to Jim Bennett, the midwest director of Lambda Legal, he recognized that the bill faces obstacles to passage but assured that “we are confident that marriage is coming to Illinois, whether through the legislature or through the courts. No one should be satisfied with a second-class status.” The organization is currently working with the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition to get people to call their representatives. “The most important thing any of us can do right now is to contact our representatives and ask for their vote on the marriage bill,” Bennett said. “We have many priority areas, so we will continue to have plenty of work to do. Just because marriage is enacted doesn’t mean that the potential for discrimination disappears.”