In what may be the last rallies for and against marriage equality before the legislative session closes on May 31st, pro and anti-gay groups will gather near a state representative’s office. GoPride reports:
As Illinois’s legislative session comes to an end May 31 and passage of Illinois’s equal marriage rights bill goes down to the wire, pro-gay groups are responding to the targeting by anti-gay groups of a legislator in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.
The Illinois Family Institute, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, distributed a flyer a few weeks ago saying that it would demonstrate at the district office of Rep. Silvana Tavares, 2458 S. Millard Avenue, at 11 AM, Saturday, May 18. But on May 16 it distributed a flyer saying that their demonstration would be at nearby Shedd Park, 2221 S. Lawndale (between Lawndale and Millard on 23rd).
Pro-gay groups, led by the Association of Latino Men for Action (ALMA), La Voz de los de Abajo, the Gay Liberation Network, and The Civil Rights Agenda, will hold a counter-protest beginning at 10:30 AM in front of Tavares’s office, 2458 S. Millard, and then march to Shedd Park at about 11 AM.
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.
Now that marriage equality has passed in nearby Minnesota, the pressure is on in Illinois. Go Pride reports:
“It is our time,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters. “Gay and lesbian couples in Illinois and their families deserve to be recognized. If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June, as expected, and Illinois doesn’t recognize the freedom to marry now, then Illinois families will be further harmed.”
And the Huffington Post reports on new pro-gay marriage robocalls by NAACCP alum Julian Bond and gay ally and football player Brandon Ayanbedejo:
A round of pro-gay robocalls expected to go out Monday are answering back to anti-marriage equality messages the socially conservative National Organization For Marriage sent around the state less than two weeks earlier. The latest round of calls call for a “yes” vote on Senate Bill 10 and feature civil rights leader Julian Bond and former Chicago Bears player Brendon Ayanbadejo, the Sun-Times reports. The calls are expected to go out in the districts of Illinois House Black Caucus members. “It’s time to take those steps once again in Illinois. We need to let the world know that Illinois accepts all people regardless of who they love,” Ayanbedejo, an Illinois native, says in the call.
Just two and a half weeks left in the legislative session…
Protesters gathered outside State Rep. Jim Durkin’s office in Western Springs yesterday, hoping to sway him to vote against the marriage equality bill. The Huffington Post reports:
A protest against the same-sex marriage bill awaiting a vote in the Illinois House stayed relatively peaceful Saturday afternoon, save for one physical confrontation outside State Rep. Jim Durkin’s Western Springs office. About 75 protesters from the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) gathered at 915 55th St. from 3-4 p.m. to oppose what they call a “fundamental change in our culture normalizing homosexual behavior.”
The Windy City Times reports on other anti-gay marriage demonstrations yesterday:
For the fourth week in a row, demonstrators yielding signs, banners and speakers faced off over SB 10, a bill that would bring equal marriage to Illinois. The day saw three different demonstrations, organized by anti-gay group the Illinois Family Institute (IF). Groups of pro-LGBT counter protesters confronted them at two of the rallies. In Aurora, demonstrators protested outside the office of Rep. Stephanie Kifowit. At the height of that protest, approximately 200 demonstrated against same-sex marriage, while 55 had come to show support for the bill. In Chicago Heights, approximately 60 came to show opposition for the bill, while about 15 demonstrated support for it. That group was targeting Democrat Anthony DeLuca.
As other stats quickly pass Illinois by on the marriage equality vote, the Governor is getting impatient with the State House. Think Progress reports:
In remarks Thursday, he called for the Illinois House of Representatives to follow the state Senate’s lead and enact marriage equality. Quinn, who endorsed same-sex marriage last May, has been personally lobbying undecided legislators and says supporters are close to the required 60 votes. After months of delays, Quinn says it is now “time to vote.” He told reporters “it’s important that Illinois and the House of Representatives get moving… I believe a majority exists to get this bill passed through the House onto my desk so I can sign it into law.”
Since Illinois started the process, two other states have crossed the finish line, and Minnesota is very close, Time to get this think passed in Illinois, too – what are they waiting for?
The Illinois House is set to adjourn in just three weeks… when will the marriage equality bill get a vote? The Chicago Phoenix reports:
“The eyes of the nation now look to Illinois,” said Rep. Greg Harris, the bill’s chief sponsor in the chamber, following the Delaware victory. “Each of us who are called upon to cast this vote must decide how we wish to be remembered by history. I believe my colleagues will want to be on the right side of history, remembered among those who stood for fairness and equality.” House lawmakers have faced a number of contentious issues this session ahead of same-sex marriage, including a solution to Illinois’ conceal carry law, a comprehensive sex education bill, a measure that would legalize medical marijuana and reforms that would remedy the state’s multi-billion dollar pension crisis.
What’s the hold-up?
State LGBT advocacy leaders such as Anthony Martinez, executive director at The Civil Rights Agenda, declined to comment on the vote count, and like Harris, confirmed it is near 60. “We are incredibly close,” said Martinez. “It’s a matter of just getting those last few votes. It’s going to take some higher level conversations the Speaker and the Governor will need to have with the legislators on the fence to hopefully get those last few votes.”
We hope back-to-back victories in Rhode Island and Delaware, and now likely in Minnesota too, will spur the Chicago house on.
A couple marriage equality stories out of Illinois. First off, the GOP Chairman who supported marriage equality is set to step down. Joe.My.God reports:
The Illinois GOP’s beleaguered party chairman is stepping down because of personal and professional reasons. Top Republican officials have told the Daily Herald that Chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles will announce the move Tuesday morning, effective immediately. Brady declined to comment Monday about the decision. Brady — whose term expires in 2014 — came under fire earlier this year because of his statements supporting same-sex marriage. He later survived several ouster attempts by state central committeemen led by state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove and Jerry Clarke, former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren.
It’s sad that, after two failed attempts to remove him, Brady is stepping down. No word on what motivated this decision now.
In other GOP news, Instinct Magazine reports that a GOP representative who was booed for his support of the pending marriage equality bill is standing firm:
The Defend Marriage rally was organized by the Illinois Family Institute, a conservative non-profit that opposes Senate Bill 10–the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act–which was passed by the Illinois Senate in February and is awaiting a vote by the House. A counter-protest was organized by two Chicago-based pro-LGBTQ groups, the Civil Rights Agenda and the Gay Liberation Network. Sandack, one of only two Republicans in the Illinois House who support the same-sex marriage bill, did not plan to attend the rallies, but made a brief appearance to defend his position.
Our sincere thanks go out to these GOP politicians who are sticking their necks out to support marriage equality.
GOP state Representative Ron Sandack has affirmed his support for the state’s pending marriage equality bill, despite protests outside his Downers Grove office. GoPride reports:
Anti-gay protesters in Downers Grove more than doubled LGBTs and allies at a rally outside Rep. Ron Sandack’s office May 4, but the Republican told crowds that his vote on the state’s equal marriage bill was a firm “yes.” More than 200 rallied against SB10, which would legalize same-sex marriage, in a demonstration organized by the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), an anti-gay group working against the bill.
Country music stars are rallying behind the Illinois marriage equality bill. LGBTQ Nation reports:
Four country music stars are announcing their support for legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. “Big” Kenny Alphin of the musical duo Big & Rich, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell signed an open letter released Thursday. They say “gay or straight, when two people are lucky enough to find each other and want to commit their lives to one another, it is nothing less than a blessing to us all.”
These stars could reach a large group of folks who have historically opposed marriage equality – kudos to them. A vote in the state House could come as early as next week.