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Why Did the Illinois Marriage Equality Vote Fizzle? — VIDEO


So why did a promised marriage equality vote in Illinois fail to happen? The finger-pointing has begun, big time.

As reported by Towleroad last night, after weeks of lobbying and support from President Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and months of work from advocates, a tearful Rep. Greg Harris made an emotional announcement that a promised vote on marriage equality would not happen because certain lawmakers wanted more time.

The Chicago Phoenix reports that as many as 12 "yes" votes fell off the bill in its final hours.

ThayerThe Phoenix has activist Andy Thayer laying blame on Speaker Mike Madigan...

Andy Thayer, an LGBT rights activist and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, followed through on promises to “deliver the failure directly to the doorstep of Mike Madigan.” Madigan oversees the 71-seat majority of Democrats in the House and was largely blamed for delaying the vote leading up to Friday, and now, the failure this session.

“House Speaker Mike Madigan, the de facto leader of the Illinois Democratic Party, is responsible for this abject betrayal,” Thayer said. “Anyone who knows anything about Illinois politics knows that Speaker Mike Madigan owns the House – if he had insisted on a positive vote from his caucus, it would have passed.

And local newspaper mogul Fred Eychaner...

“This failure can be put right on Fred Eychaner’s porch, right there, because he thought that having high-priced, professional lobbyists was more important than having our community speak for itself and fight for itself,” said Rick Garcia, a longtime LGBT rights activist and policy director at The Civil Rights Agenda.

“I am absolutely pissed off,” Garcia said. “It was insulting to have all of the families sit there and not call it for a vote. Number two, we need a sponsor who is going to fight for us, not just someone who will do the bidding of multibillionaire funders.”

Thayer, a longtime Chicago activist, was reportedly escorted from the House chamber yesterday after draping a rainbow flag over the balcony.

QuinnThe Chicago Tribune reports that lack of outreach to minority lawmakers and repeated hounding from Governor Pat Quinn for a vote were partially to blame:

Harris said efforts weren't helped by Quinn's repeated demands to call the bill in recent weeks. Quinn insisted there were enough votes to pass the bill, a situation Harris noted could peel votes off if lawmakers felt their "yes" wasn't needed to get the measure over the top.

Other gay rights advocates contended Harris didn't do enough to reach out to minority lawmakers during the negotiation process, noting that African-American and Latino lawmakers were heavily targeted by the Roman Catholic Church and conservative black church groups opposed to gay marriage.

"This was a recipe for disaster from the beginning, because when Rep. Harris introduced the bill, there were no African-American or Latino co-sponsors on it," said Rick Garcia, political director of the Civil Rights Agenda. "And the problem we have now was among the black caucus."

But Democratic Rep. Ken Dunkin, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, said the blame shouldn't fall on a bloc of 20 legislators, arguing that more support must come from Downstate, rural and suburban lawmakers.

Thayer appears to agree with Dunkin:

Don’t blame the Black Caucus. The Black Caucus has always been with us and so have the Latinos,” Garcia said. “They are just using the black people as an excuse.”

Immediately after the vote, two members of the Black Caucus — Rep. LaShawn Ford and Rep. Ken Dunkin — rejected the notion that its 20 members should be held responsible for the inaction. Both lawmakers supported the bill, and Dunkin signed on as a co-sponsor.

In a video shot shortly after the vote, Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim asks openly gay Harris if he feels like it was a choice between his community and his colleagues "to give them cover" for this.


Continue reading "Why Did the Illinois Marriage Equality Vote Fizzle? — VIDEO" »

Illinois Governor Optimistic Marriage Equality is 'Within Striking Distance' with Vote by End of May

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn tells the Windy City Times that he has met with more than a dozen Illinois lawmakers in recent days, lobbying them to change their minds on a marriage equality bill which still awaits consideration by the House.

QuinnSays Quinn:

We've been talking to house members of both parties, really dozens of them. I'm really optimistic we're within striking distance. Hopefully between now and the 31st of May, Greg Harris, our sponsor, will find a moment to call the bill for a roll call.

Later in the interview he is asked if a vote is expected this week, and he adds: " I think the sooner the better, really. I think we've worked very hard at this. I think it's time to have the vote, and I sure hope so."

Quinn adds: "I do believe we are very, very close, and we've come a long, long way," but says people need to continue contacting lawmakers:

Clearly, the opponents have been very aggressive, no question about it. But we, I think, have been strong at laying out the fundamental facts and arguments in favor of marriage equality....We've come a long distance. We've traveled over a very high mountain. But when you come down to the last stretch in the race, we've got to sprint. We cannot jog. In other words, what we have to do in these next few days and weeks is redouble our efforts because we don't want any legislators at the last minute deciding not to vote yes.

Illinois residents can find out how to call lawmakers HERE.

Governor Pat Quinn: 'Marriage Equality is Coming to Illinois' - VIDEO


Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gave his 'State of the State Address' yesterday and heralded the approach of marriage equality:

Four years ago, nobody thought civil unions would be possible here. Today, civil unions are the law of our state. And nearly 5,200 couples across 94 counties have joined in a civil union.

Now, it's time to take that next step in achieving full equality.

Marriage equality is coming to Illinois. And yesterday was a great start in the Senate Executive Committee. I want to thank Senator Heather Steans and Representative Greg Harris for their work to move Illinois forward. Let's pass this bill for marriage equality.

Senate lawmakers plan to make a vote on the marriage equality bill on Valentine's Day.

Quinn's full address is posted, if you're interested, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Governor Pat Quinn: 'Marriage Equality is Coming to Illinois' - VIDEO" »

IL Governor Pat Quinn Hopes to Get Marriage Equality Bill in January

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, in a roundtable with reporters, expressed hope that the state's marriage equality bill would pass next month, the Chicago Tribune reports:

Quinn“I hope that bill goes forward,” Quinn said when asked about the possibility of the measure being passed before new lawmakers are sworn in Jan. 9. “It’s the House that probably the key arena at this time, and I think we’ll see how the members look at that issue. They should study it carefully and vote their conscience.”

Quinn’s comments on same-sex marriage came during a roundtable with reporters at the Chicago office of Bloomberg News, where the governor reiterated the need for lawmakers to act on pension reform during the waning days of the legislative session. The timing is important, as lawmakers who aren’t returning to office are more likely to vote in favor of controversial issues.

Writes Illinois LGBT rights group The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) in a statement:

“We are pleased that Governor Quinn has made equal marriage legislation one of his top priorities,” stated Rick Garcia, Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project. “Although this is a priority, work still needs to be done to get the votes within the General Assembly. With that said, we have really seen a very strong shift in favorability throughout the state in both polling and in our work within communities. We have been working across Illinois, and even in conservative areas that you would think would be completely against same-sex marriage we have seen an uptick in support."

Same-Sex Couples Have 33 Civil Unions in Mass Chicago Event

(Tracy Baim-Windy City Times)

A mass civil union of 33 couples was held in Millenium Park in Chicago yesterday, the Sun-Times reports:

Rahm Several Cook County Circuit Court judges — and one minister — volunteered to preside over the individual ceremonies Thursday at the northwest corner of the park along Michigan Avenue. Wednesday was the first day the couples could get civil union licenses from the Cook County clerk’s office, but the law required a 24-hour wait before a service could take place.

Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke at the ceremony. Emanuel noted that he had presided over a civil union earlier in the day.

Watch some excellent clips from the event, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here's a fantastic gallery from Tracy Baim at the Windy City Times.

Continue reading "Same-Sex Couples Have 33 Civil Unions in Mass Chicago Event" »

News: Illinois Civil Unions, Syria, Trevor Donovan, Chaz Bono

 road Illinois governor Pat Quinn to be one of the witnesses to the first 30 same-sex civil unions in that state.

Trevor road Trevor Donovan on the lack of gay acceptance from some: “I think that’s why the bullying does happen, and the teasing. People bully and tease about things they don’t understand, that they’re scared of. So this is enlightening people and bringing it into the mainstream… I think it’s important to educate people, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

 road A lesbian Syrian blogger is getting attention for bravely writing a blog in her country where homosexuality is illegal.

 road Madonna is a single lady once again.

 road The US government has released five videos of Osama Bin Laden found in his Pakistani compound.

 road Lady Gaga is a foot taller in Mexico City.

 road Not that a large "birther"-like movement had grown asking for it, but possible presidential candidate Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has released his birth certificate.

Chaz   road Chaz Bono speaks about his acceptance of being transgender: “Until I really accepted this about myself and got over any of my own transphobia that I had, I really felt like I wouldn’t be accepted. I thought I would ruin my life. I thought it was, ‘Be yourself but become a pariah and put your family through hell,’ or, ‘Don’t be yourself and live a horribly uncomfortable existence where everybody relates to you in a way that’s not you.’"

 road Since the the Navy SEALS who captured Bin Laden didn't bring a tape measure with them, they were forced to come up with a creative way: "According to reports, a Navy SEAL of about 6-feet laid out next to bin Laden's corpse to gauge the Al Qaeda leader's height. The corpse was several inches taller."

 road Mark Salling steps out in Hollywood.

 road Take the elevator to the Jersey Floor.

 road Adele on Rihanna: "If Rihanna wanted me, I'd do it with her. She's hot."


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