Obama Offers Spontaneous Support For Marriage Equality In Illinois

ObamacallingThe White House announced today that President Obama would like to marriage equality in Illinois, his home state and a state where lawmakers are keen to pass a law before the current term ends in January.

"While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect," said White House spokesman Shin Inouye. "Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally."

As Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade notes, President Obama previously weighed in on state-based ballot measures in Maryland, Maine and Washington, but this is the first the commander-in-chief has put in his two cents on legislating equality at the state level, and the first time post-election.

Bernard Cherkasov from Equality Illinois obviously welcomed the president's support, telling Johnson, "With the President’s statement, Illinois lawmakers should fully understand that voting for the freedom to marry puts them on the right side of history."


  1. Buster says

    Andrew –

    (1) “The White House announced today that President Obama would like to [SUPPORT? ENCOURAGE? SEE?] marriage equality in Illinois ….”

    (2) ” … but this is the first [TIME? OCCASION?] the commander-in-chief has put in his two cents on legislating equality at the state level, and the first time post-election.

    (3) If it is, indeed, as you write, the first time he has EVER spoken to equality at the state level, it is therefore redundant and unnecessary to say it is also the first time post-election.

  2. jeeves says

    I think the Chris Johnson paragraph is the confusing part.

    Obama didn’t make any statements on legislation in my State (Washington) that created marriage equality.

    The Presidents statement came after the measure had passed. It was in support of the (Referendum 74) ballot measure that upheld the legislation passed by the State.

    So the difference here is that Obama released a statement in support pro-active rather than defensive. And yes that is technically a “first”.

  3. Randy says

    As the original article states: “… the Illinois statement marks the first time that Obama has publicly backed a measure other than a ballot initiative in favor of same-sex marriage.” (Although I think it should be noted that he supports federal recognition of state marriages, via the end of DOMA in the courts).

    Aside from the editing of the post, I think it’s wonderful to have Obama saying this. It suggests that he’ll be saying this for the next four years, too.

    Romney was the alternative, not so long ago. We could be having four (or eight) years of him to look forward to.

  4. Bill Perdue says

    Marriage equality spreading to another state is a good thing tempered by the fact that Democrats refuse to repeal DOMA so only a few state benefits and tax breaks apply.

    “When Herb Burtis, 80, lost his spouse to Parkinson’s disease in 2008 after 60 years together, he experienced the kind of wrenching grief that anyone in a long-term marriage would feel. “I was devastated,” he remembers.

    Burtis soon discovered that he wouldn’t have the same safety net that other widowers have. He and his husband, John Ferris, first met in college in 1948. They married in 2004, when same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. But while the state recognizes their marriage, the federal government does not.” AARP 07 12 2012

    Section Three of DOMA denies over a thousand benefits and tax breaks to GLBT married couples.

  5. Belar says

    First of all, kudos to President Obama for doing the right thing AGAIN, after the election (when some of the posters here claimed that he would immediately discard the LGBT community since he would have no further use for us). A sitting president making statements such as this does make a positive impact, even in a solidly democratic state like Illinois.

    Secondly, to Bill Perdue:

    While I, like many others, find DOMA to be a travesty of justice and would love to see it repealed by congress (actually I’d like the SCOTUS to throw the law out and then for congress to repeal it for good measure as well), blaming the Democrats for not repealing it is ridiculous. The repeal would probably pass in the Senate (some of the blue dogs might oppose it initially, but could probably be talked into repealing it), but it stands a ZERO PERCENT chance of passing in the house.

    While I would like to see it put up for a vote anyway just to see who exactly deserves our ire or praise, Speaker Boehner would never allow a bill like this to even get to the floor if it had a chance of passing, which is a moot point in this case anyway, because like I said, it stands no chance of passing. Blame the Republicans, because they are the ones largely responsible for DOMA still existing.

  6. Scotty says

    Good for Obama, and let’s get this done, Illinois!

    And um, Bill Perdue, how exactly are the Dems supposed to repeal DOMA when the GOP has the majority in the HofR? Do you even know how our system of gov’t works?

  7. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ Bill Perdue,

    Thank you for your comment from Bizzaro-land about the Democrats refusing to repeal DOMA when you know very well that the Republicans are responsible for that. Still trying to kiss up to mommy and daddy by giving the Republicans a helping hand? I don’t think mommy and daddy will buy it.

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