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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions in Illinois.

Groups for and against SSM organize campaigns.
Special legislative session called to consider bill.

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This topic is continued from a previous essay.

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2013-AUG-30: LGBTs and progressive faith groups reorganize to pick up a few more votes in the Legislature:

The Huffington Post reports that the LGBT community and their supporters are giving their campaign for marriage equality a major makeover. They are calling on unions for support, are focusing on longer-term activities, and reducing their promotion of marriage as a civil right. Although the latter appealed to younger voters, it has alienated many black voters in the past who resented the comparison of the current struggle for equality by same-sex couples with the struggle for civil rights in the mid 20th century by African-Americans. Their campaign will emphasize personal stories of individual couples. That approach worked well in Connecticut and Minnesota.

Mary Bernstein, a sociology professor at the University of Connecticut said"

"The movement has learned what kind of messaging has resonance for people. The civil rights discourse has been divisive for a long time ... Everyone understands love and commitment." 1

Jim Bennett is a director for Lambda Legal -- a LGBT rights group that's part of the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition. He said:

"The immigration advocates, they really know how to get it done. We have a lot to learn from them."

John Kohlhepp is a lobbyist for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. This is Illinois' biggest state employee union. He has been hired to lead the pro-equality coalition that has grown from 3 to about 50 organizations during a few months. Further, they have reached about the quarter mark of the campaign's $2 million fund raising goal.

One of the major players in the coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union hired Pat Brady to help to lobby Republicans. He was the former state Republican Party Chairman, until he was expelled for promoting marriage equality.

Most progressive faith groups support marriage equality. The coalition has hired an openly gay minister to reach out to more churches.

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2013-AUG-30: Religious conservatives, social conservatives and some black churches ramp up opposition to SSM:

Bishop Lance Davis of New Zion Covenant Church says that his coalition of black churches plans to continue fighting against marriage equality which is supported by their interpretation of the Bible. They believe that the Bible calls for marriage to be restricted to one woman and one man. Several omega churches within the coalition are conducting voter registration drives and meetings between constituents and their representatives.

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2013-SEP-16: Special session of the Illinois Legislature called for October/November:

According to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) whose sole function is to try to prevent marriage equality across the U.S.:

"The next six weeks will very likely decide the fate of marriage in Illinois. Gay 'marriage' activists have declared "We will keep fighting until we win."

The legislature will resume debating the redefinition of marriage during a special legislative session scheduled to run October 22, 23 & 24, as well as November 5, 6, & 7." 2

On 2013-SEP-19, The webmaster of the web site posted a brief comment to NOM's statement which discussed the past history in the U.S. of battles for fundamental freedoms. He wrote:

"Past history shows that when a segment of the U.S. population is denied a fundamental right, they eventually organize to obtain it, and win.

This happened with the end of slavery and redefinition of marriage after the civil war that allowed African Americans to marry. It happened early in the 20th century when laws preventing deaf couples from marrying were appealed. It happened later in that century when women obtained the vote and when marriage was redefined for the fourth time to allow interracial marriages. It has happened recently within the District of Columbia and in over a dozen states, so far, which have legalized same-sex marriage.

I think that you are fighting a losing battle, and harming the view that many people -- particularly older teens and young adults -- have of conservative Christianity."

I received a message in response:

"Your comment is awaiting moderation."

On Wednesday OCT-23, on the second day of the special session, the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is sponsoring its second "Defend Marriage Lobby Day & Prayer Watch" from 9 AM to 3 PM at the State House in Springfield, IL. 3

The NOM alert and IFI announcements refers to a Windy City Times editorial by Tracy Aim which discusses another march on the first day of the session -- one day earlier than IFI's march. 4 NOM reported that the earlier march is named: "10.000 Families March for Marriage Equality."

That seems to be a typo. The Windy City Times article actually refers to the "10,000 Families March for Marriage Equality." However, the "10,000 Families" is a long way from NOM's "10.0 Families." We wonder if NOM is hoping that the pro-equality turnout will be closer to 10 families than 10,000 families.

In spite of such an obvious numerical error, 35 locations on the Internet -- all apparently by religious or social conservatives -- blindly picked up NOM's phrase and typo and repeated it within 4 days.

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2013-SEP-18: Illinois Unites for Marriage posts video to You Tube:

Robert Smith and Steven Rynes were a gay couple whose most important wish was to get married. Unfortunately, Steven died of cancer on SEP-10 before they could fulfill their wish:


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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Sophia Tareen, "Illinois Gay Marriage Push Looks To Unions, Immigrants," Huffington Post, 2013-AUG-08, at:
  2. Brian Brown, "Illinois Marriage Alert," National Organization for Marriage, 2013-SEP-16, at:
  3. "Illinois Family Institute, 'Defend Marriage' Lobby Day," poster, Illinois Family Institute, at:
  4. Tracy Baim, "EDITORIAL Marriage and Equality: A Way Forward,"Windy City Times, 2013-SEP, at:
  5. "Illinois can't wait: Robert & Steven's story," You Tube, 2013-SEP, at:

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Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM Menu > Illinois > here

Home > Same-sex marriage> SSM Menu > Illinois > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2013-AUG
Latest update: 2013-OCT-29
Author: B.A. Robinson
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