Undecided Illinois Rep. LaShawn Ford Says He'll Vote For Marriage Equality
Illinois State Rep. LaShawn Ford says he'll vote for marriage equality, offering a boost to advocates for the bill's passage, Oak Park and River Forest's Wednesday Journal reports:
"This is a well-thought-out decision," he said in an exclusive interview with the Journal.
Ford, a one-time seminarian, said he had prayed over it. He said he has been swamped with strong opinions from constituents on both sides of the controversy. He acknowledged he has felt heavy lobbying from a politically active segment of the black clergy.
Ford says he expects the bill to come up for a vote on Wednesday or Thursday. Friday is the last day of the session.
He said a portion of his support is owing to his respect for state Rep. Greg Harris, the Chicago Democrat who is the legislation's sponsor. He credited Harris with always being "very respectful" even in a town as political as Springfield.
"He has always supported issues important to the neighborhoods I represent," said Ford.
Ultimately, said Ford, "What really turns me is how the gay and lesbian community has taken a page from the Civil Rights Movement. I respect the hard work, the tenacity, the fortitude, the organization of the gay community in pursuing this. This should remind the African-American community what hard work [on political issues] does. This will go down in history as an example of how to effect change in the world."
Read the full interview here.
The paper adds, of two other local lawmakers: "As the vote nears, the Sun-Times reports that state Rep. Camille Lilly of Oak Park and Austin will support the measure, that Rep. Chris Welch of River Forest and Forest Park remains undecided. But as of now LaShawn Ford is clearly in the yes to gay marriage column."