SPRINGFIELD — Opponents and supporters of gay marriage and civil unions could once again find themselves locked in a stalemate in Illinois this year.
As lawmakers face re-election campaigns in November, many might be more skittish than usual to vote for a controversial proposal such as giving civil-union rights to homosexual couples.
State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said he would like to have a vote on civil unions later this spring. But he understands lawmakers could be wary, especially because they might have to take more tough votes this year on tax increases or spending cuts.
In an election year, lawmakers might just want to avoid issues they sense could be politically risky.
“A lot of people really pay attention to them,” Harris said.
But gay rights advocates might have extra motivation to push the proposal this year because Republican Bill Brady opposes civil unions. He could pose a big roadblock for them if he’s elected in November.
“That would be a problem for us,” said Rick Garcia, political director for Equality Illinois.
Top opponents of gay marriage have seen their efforts stall, as well. A constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage has gone nowhere in the Illinois House and almost certainly won’t be debated this year.
State Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said he doesn’t expect that situation to change, even if Brady is elected. Democrats likely will keep control the Illinois General Assembly and continue to block the amendment.
The civil-unions legislation is Senate Bill 1716. The Reis amendment is House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 2.