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Religious Tolerance logo

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

2013-NOV: Impact of the SSM bill becoming law.
Effects the law will have on same-sex couples.
Public reactions to the SSM law.

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This topic is continued from a previous essay.

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2013-NOV-20: As a result of the bill being signed into law in Illinois:

  • Illinois became be the 16th state to legalize SSM, shortly after the marriage equality bill passed by the Hawaii legislature was signed into law during the previous week.

  • The bill becomes effective on Sunday, 2014-JUN-01.

  • Illinois became the first Midwestern state to approve same-sex marriage through legislative action. SSM has also been available in Iowa since 2009. However, that was achieved by action of the state Supreme Court.

  • Almost 40% of the American population now live in political jurisdictions that have already attained marriage equality.

  • Some LGBT commentators have speculated that if and when:
    • A majority of states have legalized same-sex marriage, whether by legislative action (as in Illinois), a voters' plebiscite (as in Washington State), a state court ruling (as in Massachusetts), or a Supreme Court ruling (as in California), and,

    • A majority of Americans live in states where same-sex marriage is available, and

    • National polls regularly show 60% or more of American adults support same-sex marriage, then:

there is a reasonable chance that the U.S. Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage across the entire country as they did in 1967 about interracial marriage. If this happens, it would probably be by the usual 5 to 4 majority so often seen in this court's rulings on lawsuits with a religious/moral/ethical content.

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What the law means to Illinois' loving, committed same-sex couples and the general public:

The approximately 6,500 same-sex couples who are registered in civil unions will be able to convert them to marriages starting in early 2014-JUN.

Same-sex couples will be able to pick up their marriage licenses on Monday, 2014-JUN-02. Special waivers may become available to eliminate the regular compulsory one-day waiting period so that couples may be able to marry on the same day as they obtain their licenses.

Senator Don Harmon (D) has filed a bill that would make same-sex marriages available right away. However, it cannot be voted upon until early 2014 when the next session of the Legislature begins.

Monique Garcia, who wrote for the Chicago Tribune about the signing ceremony, said:

"Casey Cameron, 38, who traveled from St. Elmo in southern Illinois, noted that just eight years ago gay people in Illinois were fighting for basic rights such as equal housing and employment opportunities. 'It took a long time and a very tall mountain to get to that, and to finally see this is quite an amazing bit of accomplishment for the state,' Cameron said." 1

The celebratory tone was a marked departure from late May, when the legislation stalled in the House after easily passing in the Senate on Valentine's Day. Supporters then funneled their disappointment into action, launching a summer long lobbying blitz that was soon buoyed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that restricted marriage as between one man and one woman for the purpose of receiving federal benefits.

That helped sway about a dozen lawmakers who had spent much of the summer undecided. Another nudge came from powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, who personally lobbied some members to vote for the bill. Madigan, who represents a [Chicago] Southwest Side district, also is chairman of the state Democratic Party. That means he controls the purse strings to large chests of campaign money that could be vital should one of his members face a primary challenge over their decision to vote in favor of gay marriage." Some conservative Christian clergy have promised exactly that.

Seth Hannan, 20, of Tremont in central Illinois, said the measure would give hope to gay teenagers facing adversity.

"I grew up in a very small, conservative school district. I was the first 'out' kid in my school district, and I was teased a lot for who I was," Hannan said. "(This law) normalizes it, it makes it more of an accepted thing and that will filter into the rest of society, so in 10 years that boy who was like me in high school won't have an issue." 2

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Internet postings by the public about the signing of the SSM bill :

Within about 24 hours after the Chicago Tribune article became available on the Internet, 481 comments had been posed by readers holding widely diverging views of the new law. 2 A sampling is:

  • Alexander Rysdon-Moulitsas:

    "Congratulations, Illinois! Welcome to the 21st century!"

  • Coleman Lacy:

    "What God has defined man can not redefine. You can call cats dogs, but that doesn't make them dogs. Nor does a handful of politicians calling a union between two sodomites marriage make it marriage."

  • Linda Cebrian commented on same-sex marriage:

    "... it's not in the US Constitution. Same-sex "marriage" -- as well as the whole perceived gamut of homoerotic "rights" -- was never considered by the Founding Fathers."

  • Tom Oris responded to Linda Cebrian:

    "While the Constitution doesn't specifically call out same sex marriage (one way or the other) the 14th amendment as well as the 4th amendment have been cited and used to support same sex marriage.

    Why do you care anyway..... if you don't want to marry another woman... don't. Nobody is forcing you to do anything, and nobody is forcing a ... [religious group] to marry same sex couples. Why do you feel you have a right to inject yourself into the relationship of two consenting adults?! Why do you feel it's right to deny Americans legal rights simply because of sexual orientation? Why are you justifying discrimination?"

  • Tim Heitman:

    "There are tens of thousands of kids living in Illinois today whose lives are better today than they were yesterday, both kids with gay parents and kids who are [themselves] gay. Thanks to all who helped make this happen--you should be very proud of your achievement."

  • Kevin Wern:

    " 'Both kids with gay parents and kids who are gay.' ... How did they turn gay and who says they like to be gay. RIGHT'S FOR THE KIDS -- DONT SEE IT HERE."

  • B.A. Robinson (author of this essay) responded to Kevin Wern:

    "All or almost all of the LGBT community, human sexuality researchers, and mental health professionals believe that a person discovers their sexual orientation, and does not choose it. Many go through years of trying to bargain with God to take their orientation away and make them straight. But it just doesn't happen." 2

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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. Monique Garcia, "Quinn signs Illinois gay marriage bill," Chicago Tribune, 2013-NOV-20, at:
  2. Monique Garcia, "Signed and sealed: Illinois 16th state to legalize gay marriage," Chicago Tribune, 2013-NOV-21, at:

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Site navigation:

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-NOV-18
Latest update: 2013-NOV-27
Author: B.A. Robinson
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