Illinois is in the final stretch down a gay marriage path already charted in nine other states.

But the bill faces a different obstacle than it has elsewhere. In Illinois’ Democrat-dominated legislature, it will be socially conservative Democrats who stand in the way.

The bill already survived a minority of conservative Illinois Republican lawmakers making an Alamo-like last stand to defend a position most Illinoisans have abandoned.

Two new polls show solid support for gay marriage. A Crain’s/Ispos poll found 50 percent of Illinois adults supporting the gay marriage bill. Just 29 percent were opposed, with 20 percent unsure. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Poll charts 45.5 percent support, and just 20 percent opposed. The Simon poll shows Illinois support building gradually since 2010.

So, most Illinoisans seem ready to live in the 10th gay marriage state.

The bill passed the Senate Feb. 14 on a 34-21 vote, including just one GOP vote in favor. The bill made it through the House Executive Committee 6-5 and now moves to the full House.

Democrats hold 71 of the 118 seats in the House. So, Illinois gay marriage advocates should be celebrating.

But they’re not.

The House committee action included one “no” vote by Democratic state Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr., of East St. Louis. Another House Executive Committee Democrat, Rep. Luis Arroyo, of Chicago, voted “yes” in committee but says he’ll oppose it because of personal religious concerns.

Gov. Pat Quinn acknowledged to Quad-City Times Springfield bureau reporter Kurt Erickson on Monday “there’s still persuasion to do in the House.” The governor has been less than persuasive with his own party on many issues.

The party labels might be different in Illinois’ gay marriage debate, but the issue is exactly the same: A handful of lawmakers wants to use Illinois law to impose their faith choices on others.

Those lawmakers are entitled — legally protected, actually — to believe whatever they like about gay people and their relationships. But using state law to forbid individuals’ life-long commitments solely on their sexual preference remains discrimination, pure and simple. Illinois law is clear: You can’t hire, fire, promote, include or exclude based on sexual preference.

The question facing those reluctant Illinois lawmakers is not about their own personal beliefs on gay marriage. It is about their personal beliefs on discrimination. Which law-abiding groups do they purposely want to exclude under state law?

Any answer but “none” would be awful.

(8) comments

CautiousOptimism
CautiousOptimism

I read a fantastic piece written by a straight, white, middle-class, long-married woman about how marriage equality actually breathed new life into how she thought about marriage. I think every straight person who's on the edge of this issue - or adamantly against it -- should read it.

http://tinyurl.com/cjbz6od

Klaatu
Klaatu

Step by step we descend into madness. In Massachusetts a state law mandates that students get to decide their orientation and all other students must affirm it. That means a student can decide he is a girl and enter the girls restroom. The other natural born females may not complain, say anything or they are subject to discipline. These students also get to decide which sports team they will play on and no other student or parent has any say about it. This country has completely gone off the rails and our time as a world power is almost over. We have lost our way and this stupidity is just another example of that.

Jeffrey Smith

Not even close to what the law says.

The law is for transgendered, not homosexual or thrillseeking as you imply. Transgendered is a medical issue where the student is transitioning from one sex to the other, and identifies as the opposite sex. They can be pre-op, post op, pre-hormonal, on hormones. They dress in the clothing of the opposite sex. Use of the restrooms is common sense - part of the evaluation and treatment

Read up on intersexed as well, as this law also covers them. 1 in 1000 children are born with some form. statistics are as follows:

Not XX and not XY one in 1,666 births
Klinefelter (XXY) one in 1,000 births
Androgen insensitivity syndrome one in 13,000 births


You are out of line.

One does not just decide he is a girl. There is psychological counseling involved, hormone therapy, usually plastic surgery.

Stupidity? Not on the part of the state of MA. Lost our way? Because you disagree with people getting treated for a known medical condition?

Disgusting on your part, and you are so uninformed it's pathetic. Keep your nose out of the right wing tabloids, and read about the law at the state of MA website, which will tell you the facts, and not the misinformation you are handing out.

You didn't state the truth, it's not that simple. Are you saying any XY heterosexual male is going to go sex reassignment therapy, female hormones, makeup, grow breasts, plastic surgery to enhance their size, and wear clothing of the opposite sex, just to use the bathroom of the opposite sex? Seriously? Wow.

Go to http://www.isna.org/ and educated yourself read the front page, the FAQ's, and educate yourself about a common and well known medical condition.

Transgendered children, according to the National Institutes of Health, occur at a rate between 1 in 2000, and one in 10,000. based solely on the number of children self-identifying as transgendered.

The Conway Study indicates it occurs slightly under 1 percent of the population. That study is available at the University of Michigan - available for your reading online..

senor citizen

America no longer no allows businesses to choose who they will hire, but puts them open to lawsuits if any protected class of people cares to sue for discrimination. This in and of itself is contemptable as individiduals and businesses should be able to choose who they hire as they see fit. I don't feel any business except those doing business with the government should be subject to such a law. Under the guise of political correctness and anti discrimination those that hire people must follow laws which took away their freedom of choice. Property rights have been trampled as being discriminatory, free association is no longer allowed, private clubs must open their doors to protected classes. More people have lost rights than those who they were meant to "protect" have gained.

Jeffrey Smith

That's not true regarding protected classes and private classes having to open their doors, simply not true.

More people have gained rights, and more persons are gaining rights every day.

All businesses are able to do business with the government - it would be discrimination to have one set of laws for those businesses, and another for those that may not.

Businesses can choose who they wish to hire. Affirmative Action was ruled unconstitutional.

You act as if you've been away from the US for 30 years, and never looked back, nothing you state is correct.

senor citizen

Many organizartions have closed their doors rather than admit certain groups or risked discrimination suits. While all businesses are able to do business with the government some choose not to do so because of quotas which they would have to hire so many of certain groups to obtain government contracts. I believe this group should not be liable for anti-discrimination suits. Private companies are sued everyday for discrimination and have started hiring by word of mouth, as must landlords to keep those they deem undesirable from becoming tenets. Freedom of speech will probably be next.

Jeffrey Smith

Name these organizations.

Shoreline

Yes, certainly discrimination is a factor here. But the more fundamental factor is the violation of personal freedoms and liberties upon which our country was founded, a concept that many politicians seem to ignore in preference to their personal and religious beliefs. I suspect that these elected officials as part of their oath of office, had to swear to protect the freedoms and liberties of their constituents. In this regard they have been severely derelict in their duties and should be held accountable.

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