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:

Ford"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.

The Journal adds:

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."


  1. JONES says

    Kudos for Ford
    He recognized our struggle as a civil rights issue and understands the importance to all of society of legislative equality.

    And he faced down the opposition political lobby from the clergy. Extra kudos.

  2. Patric says

    I think that some of the critical votes are going to be from this group of Representatives: Thaddeus Jones, Derrick Smith, Fred Crespo,
    Stephanie Kifowit, Robert Rita (voted for bill in committee but more recently has noted the impact of church resistance on his deliberations), Kelly Burke, Anthony DeLuca,
    Michelle Mussman, Sue Scherer (R),Pam Roth (R),
    Jay Hoffman and Luis Arroyo

    We don’t need all of their votes but we need most of them.

  3. Kevin says

    Like in Minnesota,the bill’s sponser said he wouldn’t bring the bill to the floor unless he had the votes but make no mistake,the undecided are under a GREAT deal of pressure to vote no from their churches and communties.

  4. says

    churches and communities may be one form of pressure….

    ..understanding that a nay vote will cement your place on the wrong side of history is the other, and should be taken into consideration.

  5. Derrick In Filly says

    Where’s Oprah? Where’s Jesse Jackson? Where’s Michael Jordan? Quincy Jones? Michelle Obama? Valerie Jarrett? All those high-profile African-Americans with Chicago roots to take the hands of those African-American legislators who may still be wavering? Where they at? Where all the movin’ and shakin’ people at?

  6. ratbastard says

    He looks just like one of the men who sodomized my father to death. It wasn’t rape, by the way. It was consensual. My dad just loved as many large black penises up his pooper as he could handle. Turns out he could only handle four. At once. RIP.

  7. Belthazar says

    “…understanding that a nay vote will cement your place on the wrong side of history is the other, and should be taken into consideration.”

    In particular, they would do well to remember – George C. Wallace!!

  8. Hey Darlin' says

    Thank you Rep. LaShawn Ford. Your help is a merit to your character and shows you to be an ally to transitioning to the future of America, just as those on the wrong side of history will be shown to be merely stumbling blocks to progress.

  9. LincolnLounger says

    Great news about Rep. Ford.

    Patric, Sue Scherer is a Democrat State Rep. from Decatur who announced her opposition to SB10 very early on and used very offensive language when doing so. She is NOT a Republican, and her State Senator voted Yes which gave her ample cover.

  10. Vlad says

    Will these insane individuals please stop hijacking every thread on this website with racist and otherwise vile comments and impersonations? I don’t post much but I do often read through the comments for additional information or some semblance of intelligent discussion and I just can’t take much more.

  11. Francis #1 says

    Thank you, Rep. Ford.

    He was already seen as a probable yes vote. So he coming out fully in support doesn’t really move the needle from where it was coming into today. There are a lot of other House reps. who are truly on the fence, some lean yes, some lean no, and others whose vote is unclear. Illinois equality organizations say there’s over 60 votes but Greg Harris hasn’t committed to saying there is.

    We’ll have to see what happens. In Minnesota, when the votes were there, it was immediately put to vote. The tally was clear that we had the votes to pass in MN, RI and DE, but not so much in IL. Every day that passes and the marriage equality bill isn’t put to vote is a sign that the situation is still contentious.

  12. Belthazar says

    @Francis – A smart legislator does not count or go to the floor with ‘probable’ votes. Until he/she has the person on record (public or not), it will not be considered a Yes vote. Nancy Pelosi is a great example.

    So if the situation is still contentious (not having the votes, otherwise brought to floor – implicit by the Minnesota reference), how does this not move the needle if you have 1 more vote?

  13. Francis #1 says

    @Belthazar…….Because Representative Ford was already seen as a vote in the yes column. You’re right, probable votes are not secure yes votes and probable yes need to turn into definite yes votes to see to it that bills go to a House floor for a full vote. However, more than likely, Rep. Ford was privately already a yes vote and made it publicly known today. The tally of yes votes likely included him before today’s announcement. This isn’t like what happened in Rhode Island, where four Republicans whose votes we didn’t know/expect came out in support of marriage equality. Illinois equality advocates are confident so they probably also knew Rep. Ford was a yes vote going into today.

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