Illinois, USA: Possible Summer Vote on Marriage Equality Bill? And Who’s to Blame for Failure?

Written by scott on June 3rd, 2013

Illinois mapThe deadline for the marriage equality bill was quietly extended until August, Pink News reports:

It has now emerged that Mr Madigan extended the deadline for the bill to August 31. This makes it possible for Governor Pat Quinn to make a special legislative proclamation to hear the same-sex marriage bill in the summer, during a special session to be held to resolve pension reform legislation. An unnamed lobbyist said: “It’s a fascinating move. It suggests that there is plan to get it done.”

Is there a plan in place to corral democratic members of the House who balked the last time around?

Marriage equality supporters held a protest Saturday night in Chicago, as ABC reports:

Protesters were out in force Saturday night in a Chicago neighborhood, the issue being gay marriage and the lack of action by Illinois lawmakers… The rainy weather was not going to keep them away. A crowd of close to 100 came out in the heart of Boystown to express their anger and heartbreak at the state legislature’s decision to adjourn without bringing a gay marriage bill up for a vote. “We were so angry, we wanted that vote,” said Anthony Martinez, Civil Rights Agenda. “Even if it failed we wanted that vote.”

And they were promised that vote.

As reports, some blame House Speaker Mike Madigan for the failure:

“House Speaker Mike Madigan, the de facto leader of the Illinois Democratic Party, is responsible for this abject betrayal,” [activist Andy] Thayer said. “Anyone who knows anything about Illinois politics knows that Speaker Mike Madigan owns the House – if he had insisted on a positive vote from his caucus, it would have passed.

Others blame newspaper mogul Fred Eychaner:

“This failure can be put right on Fred Eychaner’s porch, right there, because he thought that having high-priced, professional lobbyists was more important than having our community speak for itself and fight for itself,” said Rick Garcia, a longtime LGBT rights activist and policy director at The Civil Rights Agenda.

Or Governor Quinn:

Harris said efforts weren’t helped by Quinn’s repeated demands to call the bill in recent weeks. Quinn insisted there were enough votes to pass the bill, a situation Harris noted could peel votes off if lawmakers felt their “yes” wasn’t needed to get the measure over the top.

Whatever the cause, the result is shameful.

And some want Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of the bill who is also openly gay, off the bill, but Harris isn’t budging. CBS reports:

“The biggest blame has to be placed on the chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the Illinois House, Rep. Greg Harris, an openly gay man. If you are out front for the credit when there is victory, you are also out front for the failure. The bill stops there,” publisher Tracy Baim wrote.

Harris said he will not step aside as sponsor of the legislation. “I understand there’s a lot of anger,” he said. “But the anger has to be channeled as it has been in New York when there was a setback and other states when there were setbacks, into passing this legislation.”

In related P finally replaced embattled state party leader Pat Quinn, who had endorsed the marriage equality bill, drawing the ire of party conservatives. The Washington Post reports:

The party’s central committee chose committeeman and lobbyist Jack Dorgan of Rosemont as the party’s chair for the next year. He replaces outgoing chairman Pat Brady, who resigned last month after conservatives complained about his public support for gay marriage and other leadership issues. Over the last few weeks, Dorgan, 53, emerged as a consensus choice with the potential to bridge gaps between the party’s conservative and moderate wings.

No word on Dorgan’s position on marriage equality, but we’re guessing it’s a “no”.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.


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