Illinois’ marriage equality bill recently went down in the House with a whimper, after lawmakers failed to call a much promised vote. What happened? Yasmin Nair at Dot429 reports:
In all this, a central issue gets ignored: there was no one really organizing on the ground. Here, we see another massive weakness at play: Chicago doesn’t have a strong gay activist base. There are no groups with both political clout and the ability to mobilize. The community is divided between well-off non-profits like Lambda Legal and others – let’s call them the rainbow group – mostly represented by white gays and lesbians making speeches for the cameras. At a recent meeting called by the rainbow group (already divided amongst itself, by some accounts) to decide upon an action on Madigan’s house, not one of the major organizations showed up.
Nair also argues that the LGBT community in Chicago has other needs:
The problem is that the average gay, lesbian and straight person gains little to nothing from marriage. The win will come, but its positive effects will be palpable only to those with enough resources to guard against the economic crises plaguing everyone else. The rest of us will be expected make due as we watch our crumbling infrastructure goes down even further; a dwindling of public resources, and the looming threat of joblessness. For the rest of us, marriage will be cold comfort.
Meanwhile, Equality Illinois is taking the next steps on the fight. LGBTQ Nation reports:
Equality Illinois, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, said Monday it plans to launch a $500,000 effort to promote same-sex marriage ahead of the 2014 election. The civil rights group says half the money will go toward voter education efforts, while the remainder will be used by the group’s political action committee to fight opponents. “We will not shy away or be outraised in fighting for our freedom,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.
Does this mean they’re giving up the fight in 2013?