Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Black Caucus Chair Comes Out For Same-Sex Marriage



    Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: Eric Breese (L) of Rochester, New York, joins fellow George Washington University students and hundreds of others to rally outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the second case this week about same-sex marriage. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Rep. Ken Dunkin, the chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, has added his name as a co-sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would legalize same-sex marriage.

    “For me, this is about equality and equal treatment under the law,” said Dunkin, a Chicago Democrat. “I have always believed that discrimination is wrong, no matter whom it targets.”
    “The families in my district include gay and lesbian parents who are raising children, just waiting for the state of Illinois to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.  Those families can no longer be regarded as separate and unequal,” Dunkin added.  “I support this legislation, because I believe it will help us move our state forward and provide equal protection under the law for all families.”
    Black legislators are the key to getting same-sex marriage through the House of Representatives. The African-American Clergy Coalition, a group of black Chicago pastors formed to oppose gay marriage, has put enough pressure on its legislators to prevent the bill from obtaining a majority. This despite the fact that a Public Policy Poll found that 60 percent of African-Americans in Illinois support same-sex marriage, and only 16 percent are opposed. (“Not sure” got 24 percent.)