Marriage equality bills have made it through three states in quick order these last three weeks – Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota. Now Illinois is the last remaining state with pending legislation (not counting Nevada, which if passed will still need two more years to come to fruition).
Although the state Senate has already passed the marriage-equality bill and Gov. Pat Quinn is urging passage, the bill is stalled in the state House due to uncertainty of the vote. Some of the swing votes are in the largely African-American districts in the Chicago area… The dawdling by the Illinois House allowed Minnesota the honor of becoming the first Midwestern legislature to approve same-sex marriage. Iowa was the first to grant marriage equality, but that was permitted by a state Supreme Court ruling. If passed, Illinois would become the 13th U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.
Towleroad.com hilights a new video that shows the head of the Illinois Family Institute claiming that there is no momentum for the bill, along with a “gay rights leader” who is unnamed in the video talking about the House vote.
Speaking of the IFI, Think Progress looks at some of the tactics and positions of the anti-gay group:
Today, IFI posted numerous photos from its rally this weekend, including a sign that reads, “The crime against nature will never be equal.”
Speakers at the rally included ex-gay advocate Linda Jernigan and another hate group leader, Peter LaBarbera, who told the crowd that homosexuality is “unnatural and wrong,” citing HIV rates among men who have sex with men as evidence of “the dangers of homosexuality.”
IFI has claimed gays and lesbians already have equality because they can marry the opposite sex like everyone else; same-sex marriage is thus a demand “to be treated specially.”
IFI recommends language that demonizes the gay community, encouraging opponents of equality to frame their resistance as compassion.
On Top Magazine reports that the coalition pushing for marriage equality is calling for a House vote:
On Tuesday, Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition of groups lobbying for passage of the marriage bill, called on lawmakers to act. “I am thrilled that another state has chosen to recognize that marriage is about a commitment two people share, no matter who they are,” said Bernard Cherkosov, CEO of Equality Illinois, a coalition member. “Illinois looks forward to soon join the Midwest consensus for equal marriage.”
Finally, Edge Boston looks at the role of Black Churches in the debate:
Black churches – where the pulpit has always been political – are deeply divided over their support for same-sex marriage and are central to the Illinois measure’s passage, which awaits a House vote as early as this week. On either side of the issue, pastors and politically active congregations have waged intense campaigns with robocalls, columns and sermons. “The soup always boils just before it’s done and the soup is boiling now,” said the Rev. Phyllis Pennese, an openly gay pastor who runs a tiny congregation for black gay, lesbian and transgendered people in the Chicago suburb of Summit. “That’s why there’s all this fury around this issue because it’s almost about to be done.”
So when will the House step up to the plate? It’s time for marriage equality in Illinois – 16 days and counting until the end of the legislative session.