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Illinois Attorney General Will Not Defend Marriage Ban

IllinoisLovesYouIllinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and other officials are refusing to defend the Land of Lincoln's ban on gay marriage. Madigan, along with Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, says the law violates the state's constitution.

Both women have a long record of preferring full equality. Just last week, for example, they agreed that not distributing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates equal protection and due process rights.

Speaking with the Associated Press on the ongoing debate, Alvarez remarked, "I took an oath when I was sworn in to defend the constitution of the state of Illinois and I believe that's what I'm doing. I'm not going to defend something I believe is in violation of the constitution."

As the Indianapolis Star explains, Alvarez and Madigan's refusal will "thrust Illinois into the national spotlight as federal and other state courts wrestle with the gay marriage issue."

Only one group, the Catholic Thomas More Society, says it is considering a legal challenge of its own. "[This] puts people of the state of Illinois in a difficult place because their elected representatives are not defending their interests. If there is no argument or disagreement, then you'd really have a hollow judgment," said that group's executive director, Peter Breen.

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  1. Actually, our elected officials are defending our interests -- it's to no one's benefit to allow grossly discriminatory laws to remain o the books. And if you have no argument or disagreement, that's generally called "consensus."

    Posted by: Hunter | Jun 21, 2012 8:55:29 AM


  2. Calling the Thomas More Society a Catholic group is like calling the Neo-Nazi's a nationalist organization. Understatement much?

    Posted by: Mike8787 | Jun 21, 2012 9:32:45 AM


  3. Amazing post! Thanks a lot.

    Posted by: term papers | Jun 21, 2012 9:39:03 AM


  4. I'm not sure what the status of the law is in IL, but you'd normally expect the AG to uphold all the laws until a court strikes them down, otherwise you can have some rather arbitrary effects. If the AG doesn't like the first amendment, what then? Not good.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 21, 2012 11:36:52 AM


  5. I sincerely hope TMS tries to intervene. Their plaintiffs will have to show how striking down the ban will harm them. They'll fail utterly, and we'll have yet another ruling that explains why marriage equality does nothing to harm "traditional" marriage.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 21, 2012 11:47:04 AM


  6. @Anon, the status if the law in IL is that elected officials are accountable to the voters, and the law treats some of those voters unjustly. If they defend the law, then those it treats unfairly will vote against them, and those who are unaffected won't care. They'll vote the way they always vote. If they let the law fall, then those it treated unfairly will reward them with their votes, and those who are unaffected won't care. They'll vote the way they always vote. No one is harmed by letting this law fall, so they won't be rousing any _new_ opposition if it does. The people who don't like their stance will vote against them no matter what. They'll just have a new alibi to hide their bigotry.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 21, 2012 12:17:39 PM


  7. "I'm not sure what the status of the law is in IL, but you'd normally expect the AG to uphold all the laws until a court strikes them down, otherwise you can have some rather arbitrary effects."

    @Anon: The AG isn't refusing to uphold the law (gay couples can't currently marry in IL); it's refusing to defend a law in court it believes is unconstitutional. Different. Those who want to defend the bigotry in court can move to do so. As is the case with the Republican BLAG stepping in to defend DOMA, now that Obama's DOJ has stopped defending discrimination in court.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 21, 2012 4:21:09 PM


  8. I can hear the rightwing gums flapping now: "Those activist Attorneys General! *sniff*"

    Posted by: jim | Jun 21, 2012 4:35:58 PM


  9. Anna Quindlen said it best in Newsweek years ago when the tide really started shifting in favor of gay marriage. "It's over. Love won." Yes, much work still to do, but she's right. The basic course could not be clearer, worldwide.

    Posted by: Rob | Jun 22, 2012 5:58:40 AM


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