Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions in Illinois.
Reactions to the bill's passage in the House.
Comparison to previous redefinitions of marriage.
2013-NOV-05: Reactions to the bill's passage in the House:
The House passed the bill by a vote of 61 in favor, 54 opposed and 2 abstentions. All but three Republicans voted against the bill.
Sponsor Greg Harris (D) said:
"I had faith my colleagues were going to do the right thing and we were going to be remembered on the right side history today and we were." 1
Governor Pat Quinn (D) issued a statement:
"Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history. Illinois is a place that embraces all people and today, we are an example for the nation." 2
House Minority Leader Rep. Tom Cross (R) issued a statement:
"For me, supporting marriage equality is not only the right decision, but also consistent with my belief in individual freedom, equality, and limited government."
Rick Garcia, a LGBT rights advocate, said:
"I'm exhilarated. The great state of Illinois has joined the other  states that offer full equality to lesbian and gay couples." 3
Bishop Larry Trotter of the African American Clergy Coalition praised the legislators who voted against the bill. He said:
"We will always believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Yet we will still love the members of the LGBT community." 3
Rep. Tom Morrison (R) said:
"This issue is not just about two adults and their emotional relational and financial commitment to another. Redefining marriage has far reaching implications in our society." 2
"karaokekoncerts," a reader of an article in the Huffington Post commented on Morrison's statement by posting the following:
"Indeed. A rape victim no longer has to marry her rapist. A sister-law who is widowed is no longer forced to marry her brother-in-law. A woman is no longer property. Children are no longer property. Those of different races can inter marry. Marriages are no longer arranged for 11 year old girls. 4
Yes. Rep Morrison is correct. Redefining marriage certainly has far reaching implications in a FREE society."
References to marrying one's rapist or brother-in-law, and considering women and children as property are found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).
Morrison also said that a:
" 'No' vote today does not mean that you're a bigot." 3
There appears to be a growing concern among social and religious conservatives that as they continue to oppose marriage equality and as support for same-sex marriage continues to grow, they will start to be considered bigots by the rest of the American public. That might happen. However, an even more serious problem faced by religious conservatives appears to be the loss of their older teens and young adult members. Conservative churches' beliefs and policies towards human sexuality are a major cause of this loss.
Rep. Jehan Gordon said:
"Separate but equal is un-American. That’s why I’m voting for marriage equality."
Rep. Chris Welch said:
"I love my wife. My wife loves me. Why shouldn’t same-sex couples have the same right?" 1
President Obama tweeted:
"Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours."
Rep. Welch and President Obama seem somewhat confused with their comments. Love between two people of the same sex has always been legal. Expressing that love physically has been legal since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. It is only same-sex marriage that has been prohibited in Illinois until this month.
The Chicago CBS outlet covered reaction by some of the LGBT community: 1
Bishop Lance Davis. senior pastor of New Zion Christian Covenant said:
"We believe they are out of touch with their community. We believe they are working for the machine, and unfortunately they did not vote in the direction we would like them to."
The Catholic Conference of Illinois said that it was:
"... deeply disappointed that the general assembly chose to redefine ... a natural institution like marriage." 1
A group of conservative religious leaders in Chicago have promised to organize primary challengers to run against those legislators in the Chicago area who voted for the bill.
Trends of public opinion during previous times when the government also redefined marriage:
Allowing loving, committed same-sex couples to marry is the fifth time that the government has significantly redefined marriage. During the history of the U.S., the previous four redefinitions of marriage occurred:
- In the 1860's at the end of the Civil War when all African American couples could freely marry for the first time.
- At various times at the state and federal level when laws were passed to prohibit polygamy.
- At the turn of the 20th century, when laws in a few states that prohibited deaf couples from marrying were repealed.
- In 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriages across the U.S.
Over time, all of the previous changes were accepted by the public and are now generally perceived as significant improvements. So it is likely that, with the passage of a few decades, same-sex marriage will also be seen as beneficial by a strong majority of Americans. Currently, national polls show that about 55% of American adults favor marriage equality. Support is rising and opposition is falling -- both by about one to two percentage points per year.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Illinois House, Senate Pass Same-Sex Marriage Bill," CBS - Chicago, 2013-NOV-05, at: http://chicago.cbslocal.com
- "Illinois lawmakers vote to allow gay marriages," Associated Press, 2013-NOV-05, at: http://www.nydailynews.com/
- "Gay marriage to become legal in Illinois in June after bill passes House, Senate," ABC - Chicago, 2013-NOV-06, at: http://abclocal.go.com/
- "Illinois Gay Marriage Bill Passes As State Poised To Become 15th To Legalize Same Sex Marriage," Huffington Post, 2013-NOV-05, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2013-NOV-05
Latest update: 2013-NOV-16
Author: B.A. Robinson